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Q&A: Joanne Sasvari, co-author of “Island Eats”

Joanne Sasvari, author of Island Eats and Vancouver Eats, grew up on Vancouver Island, and in her heart, never left. She is the editor of VitisThe Alchemist and Westcoast Homes & Design magazines, and writes about food, drink and travel for Edible Vancouver Island, Destination BC’s “Hello BC” website, Vancouver Sun and other Postmedia brands and various other publications, including Food & Wine magazine. She is also the author of the IACP-shortlisted Wickaninnish CookbookVancouver EatsFrommer’s EasyGuide to Vancouver & Victoria, and Paprika.

How do you normally start your day?

Tea and Twitter.

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished Louise Penny’s latest mystery novel, The Madness of Crowds, and love the way her detectives and suspects can always find time for croissants. (The victims, alas, are out of luck.)

What’s your favourite go-to ingredient?

Everything is better with butter.

What food is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t believe we should feel guilty about any food that gives us pleasure, but I do enjoy Hostess Hickory Sticks perhaps a bit more than strictly necessary.

Who has influenced your cooking the most?

Julia, Alice, Ruth. Ruth Reichl’s Gourmet magazine is still my ideal of what food journalism should be. Alice Waters inspired me to respect the simple beauty of fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. And Julia Child is my idol—I still turn to her whenever I have a question about the right way to do anything, and wish I could rock a string of pearls like she could.

Is there a food you can’t bring yourself to eat?

I’ll taste anything once, but anyone who has ever experienced the Lyonnaise sausage called andouillette knows why I won’t be trying it a second time.

What can readers expect from Island Eats?

In photos and stories, Island Eats captures a uniquely beautiful place abundant with fine ingredients, and the talented chefs who transform them into delicious dishes. Most of all, it’s filled with recipes that are accessible for almost any home cook—this is a book not just to look at (though it’s that, too), but one to use again and again and again.

The thing I love about Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea is…

Aside from being a place of truly spectacular natural beauty, it is a place where everyone seems to work together collaboratively, even chefs, who are not typically that way inclined. It makes me hopeful for humanity. Besides, how can you not love a place that produces oysters, truffles, tea, cheese, whisky and its own unique style of sparkling wine?

Island Eats is available in stores and participating restaurants now.

October 27, 2021
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