Written By Cynthia Annett-Hynes Edibles Apr 6, 2011 Barbara-Jo McIntosh SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestPhoto by Tracey KusiewiczWhen Umberto Menghi’s Vancouver restaurants upped the city’s dining ante, several local luminaries were spawned. John Bishop (Bishop’s), Michel Jacob (Le Crocodile), and Pino Posteraro (Cioppino’s) were among them, and so was a slim young homegrown girl named Barbara-jo, who accepted the position as assistant to the manager at Al Porto, initially to earn UBC tuition. The kitchen lured her instead. Barbara-Jo McIntosh spent her dollars and days learning the culinary ropes at Pierre DuBrulle Culinary School and in BCIT’s Food and Beverage management program. She went on to open Barbara-Jo’s Elegant Home Cooking at 10th and Cambie in 1990.Barbara-jo sips her wine and smiles. “I guess even then I did my best to source local.” And fresh? “Definitely. Hazelmere Farms provided organic vegetables. We fried chicken, free-range if possible, in buttermilk, and napped Dungeness crab cakes with house-made cayenne mayo. Sautéed goat cheese (that was French) on local greens and oyster-and-artichoke stew were stars.”For years, though, the successful entrepreneur, also an avid reader, had been percolating a passion for owning a specialty cookbook shop. A Saveur magazine piece on Notting Hill’s famous Books For Cooks and its working kitchen sprung Barbara-jo into action. Vancouver’s Books To Cooks—with a demo kitchen—became a reality in 1998.Chef and cookbook seller came together most impressively. Barbara-Jo was convinced Vancouver’s burgeoning food scene was ripe for top-notch books and guest chefs. Her intelligence, grace and wit have attracted famous chefs local and abroad. Vancouver food lovers have gathered in the kitchen to learn from U.K. bad boy Gordon Ramsay, Saveur’s Coleman Andrews and Michel Roux of Waterside Inn in Berkshire. At press time, Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) will have made his only Canadian stop—with Barbara-jo at UBC Farm.Barbara-jo is big on Canadian content, too. Local celebs have included John Bishop, Rob Feenie (ex-Lumiere, now Cactus Club), West’s Warren Geraghty and Blue Water’s Frank Pabst. Guests delight in the foraging stories of Vancouver Islander Bill Jones. Sarah McLachlan has appeared with her personal chef. Barbara Jo has also given us New Brunswick’s Laura Calder and, from Toronto, the travelling cookbook writing duo of Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford (latest: Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes & Travels in the Other China).A bestselling author in her own right (Tin Fish Gourmet), Barbara-jo served on the prestigious James Beard Awards cookbook selection committee for six years. And in 2003, she received Vancouver Magazine’s lifetime achievement award for her many contributions to the local culinary scene. What is this award-winning bookseller’s recipe for success? Barbara-jo’s response is immediate. “Stay focused on your passion, and occasionally have a strong drink.”My chat with Barbara-jo reminded me of a comment my husband, a former liquor store manager, made when he first encountered the young restaurateur as one of his licensees: “An interesting place called Barbara-Jo’s just opened up the street. Dealing with the owner and, I guess, chef is a treat. She’s pleasant to all the staff and so very organized. I think she’ll make a go of it.”Check out www.bookstocooks.com for more info on events.Food Heroes SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Cynthia Annett-Hynes ... Read More You may also like Bar / Recipes February 27, 2020 Kuma Bitters For those who can’t be bothered to finesse and monitor the blending process of the three-jar method written about in March| April’s Bar 101, here ... Read More Food News October 1, 2019 Rancho Vignola – Vancouver Island Harvest Sale Rancho Vignola – New Crop Nuts & Dried Fruit is hosting its annual Vancouver Island Harvest Sale on November 29th and 30th at ... Read More Food Events / Food News September 18, 2019 EAT Buzz Up-Island & Tofino September|October 2019 The Buzz Up-Island It’s high time for festival season! I anticipate this time of the year all year long when fresh produce is in abundance, ... Read More Causes / Chefs / Events / Food Heroes / Sustainability August 30, 2019 An Evening with Chef Ned Bell and Ocean Wise On August 20, 2019, Ocean Wise and Eagle Wing Whale and Wildlife Watching Tours teamed up to present the first in a series of speaker events in ... Read More Food Events / Food News July 3, 2019 EAT Buzz Up-island & Tofino July|August 2019 The Buzz Up-island July 2019 “First we EAT, then we do everything else”(M.K.Fisher) – at least I do anyway. Never short of ... Read More Dessert / Recipes / Sponsored February 26, 2018 DIY Blueberry & Lemon Curd Shortcakes in a Jar Are you in need of some inspiration? Foods in a jar just seem to taste better, after all we do eat with our eyes first. A Do-It-Yourself Blueberry ... Read More Comments are closed.