Monday, April 22, 2024

10 cookbooks created by chefs and authors that call Vancouver Island home


This one’s going to make you hungry!

Victoria and the rest of Vancouver Island have some of the most sought-out restaurants and best chefs in all of BC and across Canada. 

Some are so good at what they do, they’ve been published!

Victoria Buzz discovered 10 chefs-turned-authors, along with the recipes they’ve compiled into cookbooks, and put them all in one place so you can find a delicious new read and hopefully make some of the west coast dishes from their pages. 

Here are 10 cookbooks that originated from our home right here on Vancouver Island:

Island Eats (Tofino)

By Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari

Pretty self-explanatory, this one!

This one will teach its reader everything from shucking oysters to rolling pasta and everything in between — including where the best surfing and hikes are here on the island. 

This cookbook is a compilation of over 80 signature dishes from restaurants across the vast expanse of Vancouver Island. 

If you were to get one book from this list, Island Eats might give you the most bang for your buck.

Expect to make recipes from kitchens of 10 Acres Bistro, Boom +Batten, The Courtney Room, Pluvio Restaurant + Rooms, Salt Spring Kitchen Co. and more!

Off the Hook (Salt Spring Island)

By D.L. Acken and Aurelia Louvet

If you’ve got a fresh seafood source, this book will elevate every dish you serve. 

Off the Hook is a small but mighty cookbook by two authors and cooks who call Salt Spring Island home. 

There are over 60 recipes, all of which are approachable and simple, so long as you’ve got the ingredients you need on hand. 

You can expect everything from peel ’n’ eat spot prawns to dungeness crab cakes to beet-smoked salmon lox.

This one’s for all the west-coasters who aren’t afraid of a fishy fish. 

Cedar and Salt (Victoria)

By D.L. Acken and Emily Lycopolus

Another one that features the irrefutable talents of food photographer D.L. Acken. 

Cedar and Salt became an award winning and all around prestigious cookbook that the Globe and Mail said was one of 100 books that helped shape 2019.

This cookbook focusses a lot on the abundance of Vancouver Island’s local ingredients that grow year-round in some cases. 

Fresh blackberries, foraged chanterelles and fiddleheads which can be picked in many forests and ditches throughout the island are just some of the protagonists of this compilation.

Some recipes in Cedar and Salt which feature local producers, artisans and ingredients are craft beer–braised island beef brisket, nettle and chèvre ravioli and beetroot and black walnut cake.

Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook (Victoria)

By Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanska

There’s a reason Rebar has been in business for nearly 40 years as a vegan and vegetarian restaurant… It’s pretty good. 

Even if you aren’t veg, there is never a reason to not eat more vegetables. No doctor on earth will tell you, “I think you should eat more red meat and processed food and tone it down on all the broccoli, okay?”

Rebar’s executive chef Audrey Alsterberg put this book together in 2001, but it still holds up as a delicious and modern collection of Rebar’s home-run recipes. 

This book will make you, your friends, your partner, your stomach and your doctor (if you are lucky enough to have one) very happy!

The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge (Tofino)

By The Wickaninnish Inn

The Wickaninnish Inn, aka ‘The Wick’, is nestled in the coast near Tofino and its kitchen is one of Vancouver Island’s most prestigious.

The Wick’s restaurant, The Pointe, has been open as long as the inn has been circa 1996. Since then, it has become known for its rustic elegance, warm hospitality and signature west coast cuisine. 

This book reflects the recipes, and the stories behind them, from eight of their chefs who have worked there through the ages

Contemporary and traditional, farm and sea fresh, sophisticated and accessible — The Wickaninnish Cookbook has something for every level of chef.

First, We Brunch (Victoria)

By Rebecca Wellman

This is the first of two notable cookbooks by well-known local, Rebecca Wellman.

She is known for her food styling and photography, but in this case, she has perfectly curated a book which shares the best brunch dishes from throughout Victoria.

There are a total of 60 recipes from all over town that are perfect for any morning to mid-morning enthusiast. 

First, We Brunch will give the reader the tools and know-how to make cinnamon buns, galette, bennies and everything else that’s topped with eggs.   

Bisous & Brioche (Victoria)

By Rebecca Wellman, Laura Bradbury

More from Rebecca Wellman — always a good thing! This one is for the folks with fine French taste. 

Wellman’s co-author Laura Bradbury splits her time between Victoria and Villers-la-Faye in Burgundy, France. She is well known for her best selling Grape Series memoirs and her fine taste in wine and everything French. 

In Bisous & Brioche, Bradbury and Wellman will transport the reader to a small cottage on a French countryside where they share all the dishes that they’ve learned and loved from France. 

It will teach its readers contemporary dishes and classics alike. Some of which are vinaigrettes, madeleines, crêpes, crème fraîche, tarts, cassoulet, coq au vin and so many more. 

The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook (Victoria)

By Carolyn Herriot

This one is for the green thumbs!

Gardening activist Carolyn Harriot has a plethora of books she’s written about gardening and spends her day-to-day running Seeds of Victoria, an organic seed company where people can buy the seeds to grow their own organic ingredients.

This book boasts over 160 recipes — all based on ingredients that can be grown in Victoria gardens. 

Some of the things Harriot will teach you to make in this book are fennel, chard and goat cheese pie, fresh mint tabbouleh and fresh raspberry cordial. 

British Columbia from Scratch (Victoria)

By Denise Marchessault and Caroline West

Denise Marchessault is a born and bred British Columbian and this cookbook is her love letter to her home.

This book is organized by season so those who want to make its recipes can work through the year with British Columbia from Scratch using ingredients that are found locally and seasonally. 

There are plenty of seafood recipes to celebrate the province’s oceanic communities, there are mushroom recipes that encourage foraging the vast forests BC has to offer and Marchessault includes several fresh Okanagan fruit-based recipes. 

Marchessault lives in Victoria, but in this book she explores every nook and cranny of the province as a whole. 

Artful Pie Project (Victoria)

By Denise Marchessault and Deb Garlick

This is another Marchessault instant classic she put together with her friend and colleague Deb Garlick. 

Together, they explore everything pie through the lens of a French cuisine trained chef. 

Pie can be sweet, savoury or sometimes even both — Artful Pie Project explores every opportunity a buttery, flakey crust could possibly have. 

This cookbook holds over 50 pie-centric recipes that include French Canadian classics such as tourtière and tart au sucre, a true galette, blueberry cream cheese turnovers and more.

In addition to recipes, this book has something every aspirational or hobbyist pastry chef needs — tips and tricks to avoid failure. 

All these books could be available in local bookstores such as Bolen Books, Russell Books or Munro’s Books. If not, they will be available through the (mostly local) publishers. Just click the title link of the book you’d like to know more about!

Do you know of any other local, Vancouver Island cookbooks or have you bought and used one of these? Let us know in the comments!

Curtis Blandy

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