Controversial Kitchen, indeed.
For several years, I volunteered as an A/V tech for Earthsave BC’s annual Taste of Health. Though not a vegetarian, I initially became involved to expand my knowledge in live stage management, and was careful not to wear my leather jacket when attending meetings. Though I learned little about live sound, I learned a ton sitting through dozens of seminars and cooking demos about organic food, and a ton more about my precious McDonalds habit.
Controversial Kitchen aims for the niche I needed filled; organic, omnivorous food. Owned by Barbara Schellenberg, who also owns North Vancouver’s Ethical Kitchen, you’d expect her second restaurant to meet modest expectations. Especially at 10 dollars a sandwich.
On the way in, we were greeted by a nice woman carrying a baby in a diaper as she stood at the register. One doesn’t need to work in the restaurant industry (as I have) to know that if you’re going to be a toddler in the kitchen, you’re going to have to put on some pants. And not attempt to eat the sharpie on the counter. Maybe I should have turned around then. Once we’d ordered, I noticed the lady at the register pass off the baby, hand me my change, and grab a spatula.
“Wait,” she remembered.
“First, I need to rinse off my hands for three seconds without using soap. And I can leave that spatula right there in the food prep area while I start making their meals. I mean, it’s not like money and diapers are THAT dirty.”
Once we seated ourselves near the window, we got our food; a hearty sandwich for myself and some kind of egg concoction for my girlfriend. The food itself was decent enough, but we were put off by restaurant patrons seated outside who were smoking while they chatted; all well within 6 metres from the door, in violation of the city’s smoking bylaw [pdf]. I didn’t order my “nutrient-dense” sandwich with a side of cigarette smoke, thanks. I didn’t really expect anyone to stop them, but I also didn’t expect Fiona, the manager (and Barbara’s sister), to join them for a smoke herself.