Top of the Stack: New and local books we recommend

photos: Colin Hynes




By Sylvia Main, Whitecap (Hardcover) $29.95


The follow-up book to the very popular Fabulous Fairholme gives readers more of what they want: delicious and elegant, but easy to prepare, recipes for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Main knows how to entertain and, as the owner of the Victoria B&B gem Fairholme Manor Inn, she certainly has had the opportunity to kitchen-test the recipes on her guests. As a result, you will want to add many of the recipes to your favourites list: Individual Baby Potato, Cheese, Bacon & Thyme Frittatas;  Raspberry Upside Down Buttermilk Pancakes; and Blueberry Caramel Cinnamon Buns, to name a few. Beyond the superb breakfast, brunch and lunch recipes, Easy Elegance offers special occasion menus, cocktails, breads, sauces, syrups, spreads, and desserts. The photography of both the food and the inn is beautiful. Easy Elegance is a book that is not only a great pleasure to browse, but it will inspire you to get in the kitchen and cook for yourself, your family and your best friends.





By Steven Walker-Duncan, Touchwood Editions, $29.95


Flavours of the West Coast is all about supporting BC farmers, chefs and food producers. In his TV cooking show (of the same name) Walker-Duncan travels throughout BC telling the story of local food. This book brings the best of the TV series recipes to print. Chapter titles reflect the source of the ingredients. For example: Warm Morel, Kale and Burdock appears in the Forest and Field chapter, Ultimate West Coast Seafood Eggs Benedict is under River and Sea and Organic Beetroot Salad with Creamy Dressing is found in Farm Fresh. Chefs that have appeared on the show have contributed many of the recipes in the book. You’ll find Steamed Halibut Fillet on Spanish Chorizo from Gilbert Noussitou of Camosun College, Chokecherry Soufflé from Philippe Renaudat of the Cutting Board Restaurant in Lytton, and Green Bean and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Chardonnay from Jeremy Luypen, of Terrafina at Hester Creek. Flavours Of The West Coast is a culinary road trip through the local foods landscape of BC.



By Rhona McAdam, RBM (Hardcover) $16.95


When Rhona McAdam returned to BC after many years living abroad in the UK and studying at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, she was shocked to find how appalling our food had become. She found profit-driven corporations were dismantling the traditional agriculture systems and that our food security had been severely compromised. Only 5% of the food we eat is produced on Vancouver Island! She felt she had to do something. McAdam is a Victoria food writer and activist and this book is her manifesto on urban agriculture. In Digging The City, McAdam explores the various policies and solutions being developed to counter the decline of our food systems and lays out the reasons why we need to take action immediately. Carlo Petrini, president and founder of Slow Food International, puts it best: “Digging the City helps us to understand how to become urban farmers and is a good source of inspiration for those of us who wish to change the world through food.”




By Heather Cunliffe,

ISBN 978-0-9876757-0-5


Devotees of Victoria’s Café Bliss (opened 2008) will be happy that many of their favourite dishes are now available in recipe format. Author, chef and café owner Heather Cunliffe has organized her book into tempting and unique chapters such as Smoothies, Crackers and Condiments, Pizza, Treats, and Pies & Cakes. Of course, the popular Bliss Bar (looks like a Nanaimo bar) is in the book along with other notables like Carrot Coconut Curry Soup, Hawaiian Pizza and Hazelnut Chocolate Torte—none of which have been cooked or baked. Other must-tries include the Spicy Nori Stix, a vegan pepperoni stick, and Chocolate Raspberry Orgasm Cake, a dairy-free cheesecake. Making the recipes in Blissful will give you high quality meals, prepared from raw plant-sourced ingredients designed to be delicious and rich in flavour.



By Stephanie Yuen,

Douglas & McIntyre ($29.95)


Kudos to Stephanie Yuen for finally bringing to print the distinctive Asian dishes of the best Vancouver restaurants. This 88-recipe collection of Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Philippine, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes showcases the enormous talent of a broad range of chefs working in BC kitchens today. From Singapore Chili Dungeness Crab (Tamarind Hill) to Braised Five-Spice Beef Shank (Long’s Noodle House) to Poached Chicken Salad (Bao Bei Chinese Brasseries), see what makes Vancouver’s Asian food scene one of the best in the world. I especially like the informative pages on Vancouver neighbourhoods—like Richmond’s Golden Village—sprinkled throughout the book. And the dictionary of Asian vegetables and legumes is helpful. Can’t wait to start cooking from East Meets West.


All of these books can be purchased at good bookstores everywhere.



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