Barbara-Jo McIntosh

February 26, 2009

I wanted to know more about the respected author and avid contributor to the food community, Barbara-Jo McIntosh. We met for coffee last week and she shared some background about her history, vision and inspirations.

Barbara-Jo knew she possessed an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. She worked as a seafood whole seller during school and recalls that the inspiration she felt with her first contact with those “strange specimens”, also known as Chefs. She was intrigued by these passionate individuals that were mostly from overseas and felt enthused by their different types of cuisine.

That led her to culinary school and then quickly on to her first business, a catering venture. She recalls the unique opportunities she had serving her customers, “We once flew a piano on top of a mountain to surprise a customer”.

In 1990 she opened her restaurant Barbara-Jo’s Elegant Home Cooking. She incorporated an idea she found during her travels of creating a unique Southern entertainment feel to the place. She successfully ran the restaurant for a few years and decides to sell.

After selling the restaurant, Barbara-Jo shared her skills and knowledge by offering consultation while working on developing her dream business. She envisioned an epicurean’s delight, where food lovers and cooks of all abilities would find inspiration.

Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks opened in Vancouver’s Yaletown district in the fall of 1997.

Author of the bestselling Tin Fish Gourmet, Barbara-jo served on the prestigious James Beard Awards cookbook selection committee for six years. In 2003, Vancouver Magazine honored her with a lifetime achievement award for her many contributions to the local culinary scene.

In 2004 Barbara-Jo published Great Chefs Cook at Barbara-Jo’s. This fabulous book captures the ambiance of forty culinary events featuring celebrated chefs and authors and their cookbooks. Look for this collection of charming memories and more than 50 recipes in fine bookstores everywhere (especially at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks where autographed copies are available).

The store stocks cookbooks, wine books and periodicals from around the world, including professional books and a carefully chosen selection of out-of-print books and “rare finds.” Unique and useful kitchen tools are also for sale.

The focal point of the shop is the fully-appointed demonstration kitchen, where cooking classes and demonstrations feature recipes from new and notable books.

Books to Cooks was presented as one of the top ten cook book store in the famous Saveur magazine April 2008 edition.

I invite you to visit books to cooks for a great source of inspiration and the chance to meet fellow passionate colleagues and perhaps, Barbara-Jo herself.

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