Why did Pasture to Plate co-owner Felix Schellenberg move from Switzerland to B.C. about 40 years ago?
Because he always wanted to live the European dream: to be a cowboy. Luckily for us, his dream came true.
February 17 marked a new chapter in his aspirations as his health-oriented, vertically integrated B.C. company opened the doors to new West End deli and grill at 1061 Denman Street.
With a rustic, inviting feel, the 1,500-square-foot premises of Pasture to Plate Grill, Broths, and Deli offer seating for over 50 people with décor similar to their Kinikinik restaurant and shop at their farm in Redstone located in B.C.'s Chilcotin. (In fact, the wood-panelling incorporates dark wood boards from a 160-year-old barn.)
Schellenberg and his wife Jasmin have run a 4,000-acre farm in Redstone, B.C., for the past 38 years. With a grazing license for over 40,000 acres, they raise cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry, all of their certified organic meats are produced, harvested, processed, transported, and sold by their own company.
Because they don't order in meat, they had to prepare an expansion of their livestock for new location three years in advance before opening this new location.
As their focus is on the health of people, animals, and soils, Schellenberg doesn't use chemicals or vaccines for their animals.
"Chemicals and pharmaceuticals are absolutely not necessary," Schellenberg emphasized. "We haven't vaccinated, in almost 20 years, any animals….Why is it that in the last 100 years vaccinations were pushed so much? It's probably because of the feedlot situation. [If] you condense animals in small spaces that actually should be roaming, then you start asking for business problems."
After bringing their product to Vancouver farmers' markets, Schellenberg decided to open a butcher shop in East Vancouver at 1420 Commercial Drive opened about four years ago.
Located beside the local seafood shop Daily Catch, the two businesses developed a symbiotic relationship. In fact, Daily Catch owner Ryan Johnson told Schellenberg about the available space beside the Daily Catch's location on Denman, which Schellenberg opened his new deli and grill at.
A limited selection of fresh and frozen meat is available at the Denman deli, with a menu offers some of same items as their Kinikinik restaurant in Redstone.
What's more, Schellenberg says they buy all condiments and sides certified organic and from local suppliers to support organic agriculture in B.C.
Bringing a touch of Switzerland to Canada, there are two Swiss items: the pork Sowsalito Bratwurst ($13), and the Chilcotin banger and the beef-pork Swiss Cervelat sausage ($12), both served with deli mustard and a baguette.
There are also items as varied as Chilancoh stir fry, featuring beef with stir-fried vegetables on rice ($19); Jasmin's beef chili with Emmental cheese and a baguette ($16); Nazko kabob, with beef or lamb in a pita (medium $15 or large $17); and a Portobello burger with Emmental cheese on a ciabatta bun ($16).
You won't find any French fries or onion rings on the menu. Schellenberg explains that with each menu item, they focus on one starch and one protein in same combination, with the addition of fermented vegetables because of their digestive benefits.
For instance, kimchi is served alongside their flavourful and juicy Kinikinik burger ($18), which features half a pound of beef with mushrooms, Emmental cheese, and bacon on a cibatta bun.
That's courtesy of their health-conscious daughter, Barbara Schellenberg, who runs Ethical Soda Kombucha, based in North Vancouver.
In addition to her Russian kombucha drinks, she also provides organic desserts at the Denman location, including gluten-free Swiss carrot cake (with merengue), German chocolate cake, and chocolate chip cookies ($6 each).
Hot broths are also available, including veggie-infused beef, poultry, or pork ($8) which can be consumed by itself or taken home for use in cooking.
To learn more about Pasture to Plate and their practices that are devoted to the health of people, animals, and soil, visit their website.