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Yellowknife sausage maker invited into Edmonton kitchen to recreate signature recipe for fundraiser

Two sausage shop owners – one based in Edmonton, the other based in Yellowknife – have linked up while wildfire burns the Northwest Territories.

When the evacuation order for Yellowknife was issued, Alaister McTurk wanted to get his young kids, girlfriend, and dog out of the city of 20,000 as quickly as possible.

Within 24 hours, they started the 14-hour drive to Alberta's capital, thinking there would be more accommodations available in a larger centre and they could experience "city life" while displaced.

"The first five hours of the drive were through heavy smoke and heavy forest fire," McTurk recalled during a recent interview.

"The first few days were not really very good – mostly just the stress of having left everything that we had left."

That was not just his home and city, but also his business: a specialty sausage shop, called The McTurks, whose apple-and-sage dressing is among customers' favourites.

Alaister McTurk speaks to CTV News Edmonton on Aug. 25, 2023, in Edmonton, Alta., where he and his family were staying while wildfires threatened his home city, Yellowknife, N.W.T.

Before setting off for Edmonton, McTurk donated all of his remaining inventory to the firefighters and first responders who were staying behind to protect Yellowknife.

"I read that and thought, 'That’s great – but also terrible,'" Gavin Fedorak, owner of Fuge Sausage in Edmonton, said. "So I reached out and said, 'How can we do something?'"

He continued, "No matter where we’re from or what business we’re in, everyone as a business owner goes through very similar things and you can all relate to those types of stresses you’re going to have."

Gavin Fedorak speaks to CTV News Edmonton on Aug. 29, 2023. The owner of Fuge Sausage in Edmonton invited Yellowknife sausage maker Alaister McTurk into his own shop to make McTurk's signature apple-and-sage sausage as a wildlife relief fundraiser.

One of Fuge's suppliers, Hurley's Meat Distributors, donated 150 kilograms of pork and Fedorak invited McTurk to show him how to make The McTurk's signature coils.

"[It was a] very different approach to what we do here at Fuge so it was a lot of fun," Fedorak said.

"Most of it we could do, but we had to fry up some sage which is something we don’t normally do. We had a massive amount – like five kilograms of sage – to fry up together and then put it into the sausage."

Sage is boiled in the kitchen of Edmonton's Fuge Sausage. In August 2023, Yellowknife, N.W.T., sausage maker Alaister McTurk needed to leave his home and shop because of the threat of nearby wildfires. Fuge's owner Gavin Fedorak invited McTurk into his Edmonton shop to re-create the signature product as a fundraiser.

The sausages are being sold across Edmonton with the proceeds going to McTurk and wildfire relief.

"It can let him go buy some inventory, start making some more sausage. But also, in talking with him, he’s more excited about what he can do with the money we can raise to give back to the community that stayed behind," Fedorak said.

"It is extremely surprising … very humbling to know that there is support around you at all times," McTurk told CTV News Edmonton.

"Thank you to all of the people in Yellowknife that have stayed and saved our home and thank you to the City of Edmonton for everything they’ve done. [You've] made it extremely hospitable – all of Alberta."

About 150 kilograms of N.W.T. sausage maker Alaister McTurk's signature apple-and-sage product was made in Edmonton's Fuge Sausage kitchen in August 2023 while Yellowknife was evacuated because of nearby wildfire.

A four-pack of sausage is being sold for $15.99 at multiple locations: Fuge Sausage in the Ritchie neighbourhood, all Ribeye Butcher Shops in Edmonton, as well as the Acme Meat Market in the Ritchie Market. The sausage will also be on Otto Food and Drink's menu for a limited time.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson Top Stories

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