Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
It's been a while since your faithful blogger has checked in with a fresh report. But never fear, dear reader, I have been working diligently on your behalf. My social calendar has been chocked full of all things Books to Cooks - satisfying my appetite for both the literary and culinary while necessarily compelling me to adjust my overtaxed belt one notch forward.
Recently, I took my niece - an avid baker - to a baking extravaganza hosted by chef Adrienne O'Callaghan. Books to Cooks regulars will be familiar with Adrienne's extraordinary baking skills. The evening - based on recipes from Dahlia Bakery by Tom Douglas - featured a number of desserts made famous by the popular Seattle bakery. Personal favourites included their Triple Coconut Cream Pie - so good it made my toes curl - and a peanut butter sandwich cookie named in honour of one of my favourite writers, Nora Ephron. My niece and I left with the opinion that Adrienne is the rolling pin equivalent of a rock star.
Next, I attended an event at the Vancouver Club that was conceived and created by our own Barbara-jo. Co-sponsored by Books to Cooks and the Vancouver Club, the event served as a most elegant book launch for The Butler Speaks. A handbook on classic etiquette by professional butler Charles MacPherson. The theme of the evening? A tribute to the popular British television series Downton Abbey. Guests - decked out in their best drawing room finery - were treated to black tie service and enough cutlery to keep Jeeves polishing for a week. Not to mention a sumptuous five-course menu topped off by the flaming splendour of Cherries Jubilee.
The last stop on my social surge? Afternoon tea at the shop to attend the launch of Janet E. Cameron's first novel, Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World. The event included a spirited reading by the author, who offered a memorable glimpse into the writer's life. The menu was prepared by Mark - the shop's resident tea expert - who served up a plate of wickedly good cinnamon toast. Who could ask for anything more?
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Do you think we are excited to meet Chuck Hughes? Indeed we are.
Please join us at West Restaurant at 6:00 p.m. for a reception and book signing, on Thursday, June 13th.
Cost: $95.00, includes appetizing canapes from Chuck's Day Off, libation, a personalized copy of Chuck's Day Off, and all applicable taxes and gratuity.
Please telephone Books to Cooks at 604.688.6755 to purchase your tickets.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Over the 16-year history of Books to Cooks, Barbara-jo has come up with some great ideas. Her latest concept - aimed at inspiring young chefs through her abiding passion for cookbooks - is designed to ensure the bright promise of Vancouver's culinary future. In partnership with Vancouver's Chefs Table Society, Books to Cooks is delighted to announce Barbara-Jo's Chef Literacy Scholarship.
The idea? Chefs will apply to the Chefs Table Society for a scholarship based on a specific project or area of study. They'll be able to apply those funds directly toward purchasing books at the shop.
For Barbara-jo, it's a chance to nourish the principles that form the foundation of her business. "I believe in the preservation of libraries and the knowledge that comes from real books," she explains. "The idea of holding a book in your hand, of spending time to savour the gift of turning each page, is something that should be passed on to each generation."
"We bring in books from around the world," she adds. "They're essential reading for young, professional chefs. But they can be expensive, especially if you're just starting out. So I got to thinking: How can I pass on an experience I've always cherished to the young chefs who need it most?"
Three of Vancouver's finest chefs have volunteered their talent in support of the scholarship's sold-out inaugural fundraiser. Taking place at the shop on Sunday, May 5th - as part of Books to Cooks' popular Sunday Supper series - the fundraiser showcases an elegant collaboration by Quang Dang of West, Hamid Salimian of Diva at the Met, and Jefferson Alveraz of Lift. Each chef will include a menu based on their culinary heritage, celebrating a diverse array of dishes from Vietnam, Iran and Latin America.
Don't worry if you've missed out on the evening. They'll be other fundraisers in the future. "We hope to build on this inaugural event to eventually create a small lending library for chefs that will grow as the future allows," says Barbara-jo. In the meantime, if you'd like to make a contribution to this most worthy cause, you can contact the shop about a donation.
Monday, April 22, 2013
At a recent Sunday Supper, guests were treated to a fun and vibrant tapas menu by local chef Neil Taylor and his able assistant Vic. Chef Taylor - the co-owner of Denman Street's wildly popular Espana Restaurant - created a menu based on the Spanish flavours of Movida, a lavish cookbook by Frank Camorrra and Richard Cornish. Neil - who's resume includes time at London's prestigious River Cafe - has a culinary philosophy that encourages a certain playfulness. "Recipes don't always have to be exact down to the letter," he explains. "Sometimes, it's nice to add your own special touches."
Espana is one of those openly democratic places that doesn't take reservations. ("I've had to wait for a table," laughs Neil.) But one taste of Taylor's five course tapas menu and you understand why his intimate restaurant has people clamouring to get in. Barbara-jo, for one, doesn't mind waiting for a table. "You can sit at the bar with a glass of wine and an an appetizer, mulling over all the other things you're going to eat. It's a wonderful way to dine."
The Sunday Supper menu included delicious Ham and Egg Croquettes, Empanadillas (Little pastries filled with tuna, with Spanish sherry worked into the dough.) And Churros con Chocolate. (Spanish doughnuts with an accompanying chocolate dip.) But the highlight for this hungry blogger was the upscale take on traditional pork and beans, featuring crispy pork belly, white beans and quince aoli.
Sunday, April 21, 2013