A Logical Step in the Right Direction

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

 

 

 

2 responses to “A Logical Step in the Right Direction

  1. HI Jed,
    Wanted to say hi and say congratulations on the new Bliss Cafe.
    Cookculture has come a long way and I am very proud and happy for your accomplishments.
    I look forward to visiting you on my next trip down to Vancouver.
    WishIng you all the best!
    Renee

  2. Hi Jed!

    Thank you for this post! I have thought about this a lot for the past couple of days, and simply wanted to offer my feedback. I hope it doesn’t offend.
    I respect where you are coming from, and recognize that you alone reserve the right to choose your company’s future direction, and what impact you want to have on the world. And of course, teaching people to cook vegan is a great step that might even instigate other culinary schools to adopt a similar approach. I understand your motivation and commend your contribution in introducing people to veganism.
    That said, I would be very sad to see all classes containing animal products go from your cook school. Cook Culture is where I learnt how to cook meat properly, and I take pride in cooking a vast variety of recipes, including vegan, vegetarian, and “omnivorian”( 🙂 ). Restricting the school to vegan options could potentially restrict/exclude some of your international-oriented courses, as many traditional dishes are made with animal products all over the world. Of course we can adapt them, but I had such a good time learning, for example, authentic Thai recipes.
    As you might have guessed, I am not vegan. I do cook vegan recipes, and have learnt a lot about veganism from Cook Culture (and am a very happy customer of your new Bliss cafe).
    I will remain a loyal customer to Cook Culture no matter what you choose, but I did feel the need to comment simply because the post made me feel a bit excluded/unwanted as a person who consumes and cooks with animal products.

    With my kindest regards,
    Lilit

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