There are few people on this green earth who can recall every ingredient in a variety of well-balanced, healthy meals without the help of a recipe book. That little memory glitch can become a major bother when hungry and shopping for dinner in a crowded grocery store filled with similarly rushed, irritable shoppers stumped by the same question: "What am I going to make tonight?"
Newly opened Kitchen Quickies in the Spectacle Building in Squamish has an anecdote for the unplanned meal quandary - a number of seasonal recipes posted on a bulletin board just inside the door. A step away from the giant grocery store model, this little grocer doesn't need half an acre of square footage to do its job, which is to provide fresh, local food to customers with guidelines on how to prepare it.
Kitchen Quickies was designed to ease the grocery shopping experience, improve on culinary skills, and incorporate more B.C. products into daily meals. Shoppers can decide whether it's going to be a night for Fraser Valley chicken schnitzel, Pemberton purple potato gratin, or any variety of ethically-caught seafood from the Diamond Head Fish Market next door.
"One of the main benefits of my idea is that we can provide people with inspiration and ideas for how to use what's in season, because usually when you're looking through a recipe book it's filled with normal recipes that use ingredients that aren't necessarily in season," said owner Daniel Jensen, who created the model with the help of his sister Mila Winter, a Master of Finance student studying in Zurich.
"It takes a lot of planning to use local produce more often."
Born and raised in Whistler, Jensen had always been interested in the food business. But after trying his hand at established restaurants like Araxi, he decided the restaurant world wasn't for him.
"I wanted some sort of a business idea where I could work with food and food ideas but have somebody else do the cooking," he said. "One of my biggest pet peeves is having to navigate the whole after-work routine when you walk through the grocery store hungry and you don't know what to make for dinner. We had a good solution to that problem and it fit into what I wanted to do so the idea grew from there."
For Jensen, the joys of eating depend entirely on how fresh the food is and it can't get much fresher than if it is grown up the road. Organic Pemberton potatoes, Gabriola Island apples, Squamish eggs, Fraser Valley chicken, pork and beef - Kitchen Quickies relies heavily on B.C. producers to keep its shelves stocked. Jensen took a cue from a wildly successful local-products-only corner grocery store called Home-Growin in Vancouver.