I’ve written many times about how my mom was a huge influence in my young life and set my foundation of what has become an obsession with food, This usually means plant-based (or what we called vegan), organic, and local when available. I’m proud to be raising a plant based family, as she did, and work hard to make the best choices for them, and me.
(My wife Regan with our daughter Chloe)
Over the last several decades, I’ve observed many fascinating things in our food system. Much has been uncovered and documented regarding how manipulated we’ve allowed ourselves to be for the sake of convenience, and value. It seems like a day doesn’t go by without some report or story coming out about how our diet is the main culprit of some obscure disease or disorder. Some of the latest science is actually stunning and it seems that the clear message is that we’re mostly in control of our health and wellness, including how we deal with disease. The choices we make everyday, at every meal, are ours and we are the masters of our destiny – to a great degree. Eating the very best food available gives me, and my family, a fighting chance to live a long and healthy life.
Understanding and practicing this also helps me direct what we sell, like our full and outright ban on selling chemical non-stick coatings, and what we teach, like the class, Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer or our popular knife skills classes which are Vegan. We will continue to curate our retail selection that represents modern cooking but I believe the time is near that most of our cooking classes should become completely plant-based. I’ve hesitated with this because our mandate has been, and is still, to help as many people as possible learn to cook at home. Mostly people have not found enough value in “plant-based classes’ but all that really tells me is that we haven’t done it well enough, yet.
So when I get obsessed on how to do things really, really well I usually reach out to people that I believe do it best. In my plant-based world this would definitely, absolutely, without a doubt, be Heather Cunliffe and her brother Joe. Heather started a small cafe, called Bliss, in Victoria about 10 years ago with a passion to nourish. Together with her brother they’ve grown the Juice Bars, and now their restaurant, Be Love, into the leading plant-based restaurant companies in Victoria. They are many people’s first choice for one main reason – the food speaks for itself. They do not compromise, or cut any corners, ever. Their finished product is probably the best quality that you can get, even if you sourced it yourself and made it at home.
When we designed the full renovation of our Howe Street store we realized that we had some space for something more, and I wanted it to be a nourishing food concept. 6 months later, lots of long, long days of construction, loads of dust, and voilia – a Plant-Based, 100% Organic, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Juice Bar is born. Joe and Heather have brought their team, and know how to downtown Vancouver. Welcome Bliss!
(Bliss – Chocolate Cheeze Cake)
It’s an interesting space, with Retail, Cooking Class and Bliss all in one room but it actually feels right. We call it, Learn, Make, Nourish. I believe that retail is transforming, for the better, and this is the beginning of where we believe we belong in a modern community that expects more from it’s retailers. We welcome you to come spend some time with us and let us know what you think.
Feel free to contact me through Instagram at @jed.grieve