Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks: So Much More Than a Book Store

Barbara-Jo McIntosh: a truly welcoming touch, Tim Pawsey photo

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Vancouver’s Books to Cooks  (1740 West 2nd. Ave., 604-688-6755). We’ve followed Barbara-Jo McIntosh’s progress since she pulled the wraps off the original Yaletown location on September 7, 15 years ago this past week.

In 2005, Barbara-Jo upped stakes from Yaletown in favour of a more spacious and accessible location just across Burrard bridge, across from the Seaforth Armoury and a short hop from Granville Island. New neighbours included iconic Les Amis du Fromage and equally irresistible Patisserie Lebeau.

The concept, that combines comprehensive book store and demonstration kitchen (not to mention a whole lot of love for all things food and wine-ish), is unique around these parts.

Michael Pollan talks “In Defence of Food” at Barbara-Jo’s, TP photo

However, not only does Books to Cooks stock just about any cookbook on the market, this beautifully arranged, truly welcoming space (complete with grand piano) is the busiest host in town to visiting chefs and authors. Over the years, Barbara-Jo and her team have welcomed the glitterati of the international culinary world: everyone from  Michel Roux, Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan to Jennifer McLagan, Donna Hay, Tom Douglas, Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay— “and many more whom I truly admire and now have the great fortune of calling my friends,” she says.

In fact, by providing the venue, the event and a reason to come, Barbara-Jo McIntosh has truly put Vancouver ‘on the circuit’; and in doing so contributed immeasurably to the reputation it now enjoys as one of the continent’s top culinary destinations.

In the stacks … TP photo

Making a go of things in these challenging times is an achievement on its own. But to flourish as an independent bookseller? Well, that deserves more than one glass of bubble, for sure.

Congratulations, Barbara-Jo! And here’s to many more.

And by the way, if you think I’m kidding about the frequency with which things happen here, check out the events page.

You might just find something you like. But you’d better book fast …

And one more thing—the ticket price to virtually all events includes a copy of the relevant book.


By | 2018-01-21T15:05:33+00:00 September 8th, 2012|Uncategorized|3 Comments

About the Author:

Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada. Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion. He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada. Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others. Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile.


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