Give a taste of Vancouver with these 5 cookbooks

Rob Feenie with his wife, Michelle, at home. Photo courtesy of Douglas & McIntyre.

Rob Feenie with his wife, Michelle, at home. Photo courtesy of Douglas & McIntyre.

If you’re still hungry for gift ideas going into the final holiday stretch, we’ve got you covered. Vancouver has some of the best restaurants in the world, and luckily, local chefs are willing to share their recipes.

Here are five cookbooks that let you give a taste of the city to loved ones near and far. They’re all available online and at bookstores around town; try Barbara-Jo’s Books To Cooks (1740 West 2nd Avenue) for a good selection.

First, what does Rob Feenie, who rose to fame through Lumiere restaurant and is now executive chef at the Cactus Club Cafe, cook at home?

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Feenie lays it all out in Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics ($29,95, Douglas & McIntyre). This isn’t a fine-dining cookbook: it’s full of good, everyday dishes for family meals.

Recipes include cream of chicken soup, cod tacos, a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich, and sloppy joes. These may sound standard, but the ingredients show the Feenie touch: prosciutto, Brie, and oven-dried tomatoes for the sandwich, and ground pork, hoisin sauce, and a cabbage-cilantro slaw for an Asian take on sloppy joes.

Feenie even shares his mother’s recipe for “the best chicken pot pie on the planet”.

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Food writer and author Stephanie Yuen delves into Vancouver’s Asian food scene with East Meets West ($29.99, Douglas & McIntyre). Here, she compiles recipes from some of the city’s best Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian restaurants and also offers commentary on the evolution of Vancouver’s Asian food scene.

Recipes include Taiwanese five-spice chicken nuggets from Zephyr Tea House Café, Vietnamese grilled chicken with lemongrass from Bon Café, and the fabulous Nepalese goat curry from Café Kathmandu.

Elk stew. Photo courtesy of Modern Native Feasts.

Elk stew. Photo courtesy of Modern Native Feasts.

Modern Native Feasts ($21.95, Arsenal Pulp Press) is written by chef Andrew George, who  is a member of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and a prominent figure in the aboriginal culinary community. He was the head chef at the Four Host First Nations pavilion at the 2010 Winter Olympics and now teaches cooking to Native students as part of the SuperChefs program, with a focus on meals that put a modern, healthy spin on traditional fare.

Dishes focus on healthy ingredients and those sourced by hunting or fishing. Recipes include braised buffalo ribs with red pepper pesto, elk stew, spicy elk wraps, and venison tourtière.

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After 20 years, Vij’s Restaurant is still going strong. You don’t have to wait in line, however, to enjoy Vijram Vij’s Indian food at home. Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine was the first cookbook from Vij and partner Meeru Dhalwala. Their second and most recent book, Vij’s at Home ($40, Douglas & McIntyre) delves into what they cook off-duty.

The book includes more relaxed recipes for meat and seafood curries as well as an entire vegetarian chapter.

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No, White Spot does not reveal its famous Triple O sauce recipe in The White Spot Cookbook (Figure 1, $14.95 at White Spot restaurants). The closest you get is a blurb on what’s not in the sauce, along with instructions to dress the bun with mayonnaise and hamburger relish when re-creating executive chef Chuck Currie’s Favourite Burger.

Kerry Gold’s book is, however, full of nostalgic photos of the history of this iconic B.C. restaurant as well as tasty recipes of other menu items. For example, the curried chicken, broccoli, and cheese casserole tastes exactly like the delicious original.

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