When Adrienne Johnston was 11 and living in India, she and a friend dug a pit outside to cook fenugreek, potatoes and fresh chapattis.
Today, even after 17 years of creating new dishes for her Cow Bay Café in Prince Rupert, Johnston says she recalls no taste better than that simple dish.
“It was so good,” she says, laughing. “I remember thinking that I wanted to share it with as many people as I could.”
Johnston has done that, first by opening her small seaside café (“We can seat about 29 if you let me have my way”), and now, at the urging of many customers, with her cookbook—No More Secrets: Recipes from the Cow Bay Café.
Seafood dishes, such as crab cakes and fish chowder, were among the most requested. But Johnston goes well beyond fish and chips.
“I try and present them with something that’s local, but exciting,” she says.
Many of Johnston’s creations combine flavours from around the word.
“My dad was an army man, and we just got sent wherever he had to go,” she says. “There’s six of us children, and we’re all born in different places.”
A former children’s librarian, Johnston will feel at home in the Smithers Library on May 9, where she will share some café secrets at 7 p.m.