"Top Chefs" from Ciao Magazine - March, 2007 Read About Chef Alan Shepard from Ciao Magazine.
Located in St. Boniface, at the end of the Provencher Bridge, this classy but campy restaurant is noted for its unique setting -- it's just the spot for an upbeat dinner with someone special. The restaurant is richly decorated, with a huge collection of vintage miniature shoes, photos of Hollywood stars, and lots of plants and twinkling lights, all the better to highlight the superlative food. The handwritten menu, brought to diners on a chalkboard, changes weekly to ensure that seasonal products take center stage. Everything served here is hand-crafted, from appetizers such as escargot and spinach-stuffed prawns to Moroccan-spiced beef over chilled asparagus. The chef's Australian roots show through in dishes such as grilled duck breast served with wild mushrooms and Woolloomooloo chutney.
Reviewed in July/Aug '05 Issue of WHERE
Restaurants are known for many things: innovative food, perfect ambience and artful service. Step’N Out has all of this, but what it’s really known for is the laugh. Co-owner Verna Judge’s laugh is so distinctive you cannot sit through a meal without hearing it. It’s loud, high-pitched and impetuous; and Verna laughs all the time. Her sense of humour is quirky. Her honesty is crisply refreshing. As she’s stacking plates on her hip, she’ll promptly tell you that the only thing she doesn’t like about her new restaurant is climbing the stairs. The second-floor dining space is an airy part of Step’N Out’s new 35-seat Provencher location, relocated from the Exchange District. In the new space Verna’s shoe collection is bigger than ever, with miniature Victorian heels lining every possible horizontal surface. Movie stars look down from the walls like old friends. A side patio with wrought iron gate and flagstone border, complete with a bubbling fountain, makes this one of the best-looking restaurants in the city, inside and out.
The Step’N Out experience starts when Verna props a gilded hand-written menu board beside the table. It’s an ingenious way to keep the menu fresh, letting chef and co-owner Alan Shepard rewrite it every week or so, which he does.
From Treasures of.com
Alan Shepard only discovered he had the makings of a chef when a chef at Step ‘N Out quit. Alan started training with a Cordon Bleu chef soon after and proved so skilled that some reviewers think the seafood and other specialties at Step ‘N Out are better than ever. Alan’s partner Verna Judge continues to handle the front of the house, and many longtime employees, including a talented sous chef, uphold the Step ‘N Out standards. Alan and Verna have created a romantic setting that manages to feel like an enchanted grotto with thriving greenery, soaring ceilings and photos from old-time movies on the walls. A gallery of handcrafted miniature shoes serves as the restaurant’s theme and main entryway décor. Loyal customers often donate to the collection. The restaurant holds just 13 tables, which means you will need reservations. In return, you can expect a surprising degree of privacy, thanks to two intimate floors, a small patio and the owners’ flair for feng shui. The restaurant, which received a five-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle and similar praise from Marion Warhaft at the Winnipeg Free Press, offers a chalkboard menu that changes with what’s best and freshest. Alan laces the modern Australian fare with Asian, Italian and French influences. Verna picks the wines. Come under the spell of Step ‘N Out.