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Laying down the law in the "good food revolution"

Laying down the law in the "good food revolution"

[photo of Malcolm Jolley]Malcolm Jolley, Law'99

There’s something to be said for those whose lives don’t follow a linear, clean-cut plan. While some may take the scenic route, if they, like Malcolm Jolley, Law’99, see the world as their collective oyster, and education as the tool for becoming a better citizen, then maybe Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” was a part of the plan after all.

Malcolm found himself completing a law degree at the Queen’s. But it wasn’t the promise of a law career that led him to Kingston. As he says, “I went to Queen's for love. I did my BA at McGill in 1994, and that’s where where I met my wife. She went to Queen's to study law, and I followed her there in 1996.”

A law degree for the love of a woman? Not exactly. Says Malcolm, “It may seem ridiculous, but I didn’t see becoming a lawyer as a necessary conclusion to a law degree. I was really interested in educating myself as a citizen and learning how to think critically and logically. I've never regretted the education I received, and over the years I think it's served me quite well.”

He cites Tony Pickard—“a black-letter law professor who was also a great cook and a lover of good food and wine,” David Mullans, and Don Stuart as professors who cared a great deal about their subjects. “I was very well taught,” Malcolm says.

He applied his legal training in his first job post-Queen’s - in a think-tank called the Dominion Institute, which is now part of the Historica-Dominion Institute. There he was intrigued by Internet. “I helped build a web site with the History Channel. The Dominion Institute promoted Canadian history and civics; my law degree was immediately helpful in figuring out things like federal and provincial jurisdictions,” says Malcolm.

He saw the wide-sweeping impact the Internet was having on society and the wheels started spinning. Malcolm, a long-time proponent of eating seasonally, cooking, and learning about what we eat, decided that “foodies in Ontario weren’t being very well-served by the mainstream media and I thought I could do better. I launched Gremolata.com as Canada's first food-and-wine online magazine in October 2004 and haven't looked back since.”

All of a sudden, Malcolm was interviewing people such as pastry master Michel Roux, food critics and other experts, and every kind of chef, food producer, wine maker and sommelier in between. He became a culinary raconteur of note, whipping up a whole new career almost overnight.

Malcolm and his Gremolata.com partner eventually parted ways, and when they did the ever-enterprising food lover took on the task of launching another online magazine in 2009, this one called Goodfoodrev.com.

“Good Food Revolution has been far more successful than Gremolata ever was. We’re reaching more people and making a real impact on the good food movement, which is profoundly satisfying,” says Malcolm.

Of the Queen’s alumni who have a hand in shaping our culinary landscape - including such culinary stars as Marc Lukacs, Naomi Duguid, Dana McCauley and Anna Olson - Malcolm says, “I think that all these people are smart and they’re engaged. The ‘good food revolution’ is one of our society's great areas of innovation and forward thinking. Of course Queen's grads are going to be at the centre of it.”

[Queen's Alumni Review 2010-2 cover]