Brunch with Zahra Alani at Calabash Bistro

Brunch is a favourite past time shared by many and should be an extraordinary experience, one that you will cherish. Vancouver has some wonderful places for brunch. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes. I am on a journey around the city to find these extraordinary places and, at the same time, I will be joined by a notable personality who may be a Film Producer or Director, Musician, Arts Festival Director, Actor or other well-known individual for Brunch at restaurants in and around Vancouver.

For my Fifty Eighth brunch in this series, I was joined by Zahra Alani, TV Host & Weather Reporter at CTV over Brunch at Calabash Bistro in the Gastown close to Chinatown neighborhood talking about the weather, food and more.

Zahra Alani

Zahra Alani

After studying dance and business at Simon Fraser University, Zahra found her way to the Communications Department. She then went on to win a scholarship to a broadcasting program at Columbia Academy. Just three weeks into the program she launched her career on Fairchild Radio, announcing in Spanglish, – a mix of English and Spanish. It wasn’t long before she jumped into television, hosting and interviewing for an entertainment show called, Backstage Pass, which aired on Shaw TV. Zahra went on to host an array of lifestyle segments for Shaw TV in English and Spanish. She also spent much of her time out-and-about in the community with KVOS Television at family and charity events.

Her work caught the eye of NBC News, Honolulu. A lover of the ocean and nature, Zahra couldn’t resist when NBC invited her, not only to try to catch a few waves, but also to write a story about Grammy nominees. From there she moved up…way up! She delivered traffic reports from a helicopter for Global BC’s 5 o’clock news. She also did traffic and weather on three major local radio stations: AM730, CFUN, and Team 1040.

Zahra Alani worked for three years doing the traffic and weather on CBC Radio-One’s The Early Edition and On the Coast before moving into her role as weathercaster for CBC-BC’s weekend broadcasts. From there, CBC-Regina quickly snagged her up for the supper hour show.

You can follow Zahra Alani on Twitter @ZahraAlani 

What got you into TV, and Reporting?

I was studying at business school at SFU, I come from a performing arts background (singing, dancing, tap jazz, ballet, hip hop), I also studied communications. I started talking to people in the industry, getting into media was the perfect answer for me. I left SFU and went to Columbia Academy, I was then very clear on what I wanted to do. I started at Fairchild Radio doing a Spanglish show.

Where did you go to school for radio/broadcasting?

Columbia Academy, previously took writing classes at SFU through the communications program.

How hard or easy was it to find your first job?

It came to me within 6 weeks of working at Fairchild Radio, from there I had my own show called “Backstage Pass” and then sometimes co-hosted Acento Latino on Shaw.

Have there been any notable personalities you have interviewed over the years, if so who?

  • Clay Aiken
  • Tom Marin

What does it mean when you build graphics for your show on tv?

I enter the info for storm tracker and other graphics. I don’t want to use automated populated graphs, I do all my own research and customize my forecast to match my research and predictions. I adlib what I say on air.

What type of music did you listen to growing up?

Top 40, hip hop, opera

What foods do you like?

  1. Indian
  2. Italian
  3. More ethnic foods with a latin flair
Pineapple Juice

Pineapple Juice

Basket of Breads

Basket of Breads

Rise & Shine Roti

Rise & Shine Roti

Escovitch Fish

Escovitch Fish

House-made crisp jerk pork belly

House-made crisp jerk pork belly

Fried Plantains

Fried Plantains

Salara French Toast

Salara French Toast

Zahra and Richard both had a Pineapple Juice to start and shared the Basket of Breads (Roti, coconut dumplings and salara with guava and mango butter and pineapple jam). Zahra then had the Rise & Shine Roti with Jerk scrambled free-range eggs, roasted cumin potatoes, tomato & garlic choka, coconut rundown hollandaise, served on an open roti with house-made jerk turkey sausage; Richard had the Escovitch Fish – A traditional Caribbean breakfast. Pan-seared fish, tangy Escovitch sauce, fried plantain, fresh cucumber, rice and peas. Richard also had a side of the House-made crisp jerk pork belly and Fried plantains. Zahra and Richard then shared the Salara French Toast – fresh baked traditional Guyanese coconut bread, fresh-cut fruit, banana cream, and spiced mango maple syrup.

What are your favourite restaurants in Vancouver?

  • Joe Fortes
  • Black & Blue
  • American Grille

What do you do in your off time?

  • Planning my wedding
  • Talking meteorology classes
  • Fitness classes
  • Eat out with friends

Where is your favourite travel spot?

Osoyoos (I like wine tours)

Who are your mentors?

  • Claire Martin (former meteorologist at CBC)
  • Renu Bakshie (former news anchor at CTV)
  • Dale McArthy (previously at KVOS now at Vancouver Magazine)

Who inspires you now?

My fiancee

What inspires you?

People – the people we see on the streets, tweets, emails. I constantly meet amazing people.

What’s next for you or what’s on the horizon?

  • Pursuing my meteorology to become a meteorologist
  • Producing my own segment for CTV
  • Schooling, furthering knowledge, growing my career, getting into the community more.

Style: a La Carte

Attire: Casual

Time: Saturday and Sunday 10:00am – 3:00pm

Calabash Bistro

428 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Web: http://calabashbistro.com/food/brunch  

For Reservations please call: (604) 568-5882

Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Brunch in and around Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak