Cowichan Community Culinary Festival – Project Wrap-Up

This fall, Cowichan Community Kitchens, Hiiye’yu Lelum House of DSC_0044wmFriendship Society, and Cowichan Green Community (CGC) partnered to coordinate the Cowichan Community Culinary Festival Project. With the goal of supporting the Community Kitchen Teams to plan, promote, prepare, and host a Culinary Event, this project wrapped up with a very successful, and tasty, celebration!

Hosted on Saturday, October 4th, as a stop along the 10 day Savour Cowichan Festival, this event featured a menu of local ingredients, prepared by the hard working hands of chef Zac Zorisky, Community Kitchens, Cowichan Green Community, and a host of dedicated volunteers. Served at the Centennial Park Cob Ovens, the 200+ attendees enjoyed a free lunch, local music, family-friendly games, and shared local food recipes. It was truly a delight to see so many faces at this event enjoying local food.

In preparation for this event, the Community Kitchens Teams toured local farms, forming connections with regional food producers. As well, the teams participated in a series of local food workshops that were offered to build their skills and confidence in themselves.

DSC_0094wmThis project will wrap up with the publication of a Local Food Recipes Cook Book that will feature recipes that are designed for preparing meals on a Cob Oven. Copies will be available soon. Email CGC at for more details on how to get your copy.

This project was made possible with the generous support from The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation. CGC would like to thank Cowichan Community Kitchens and Hiiye’yu Lelum House of Friendship Society for this partnership opportunity. We also want to thank Zac for sharing his time and culinary skills, and the three participating Community Kitchen Teams: Hot Mamas and Papas (Cobble Hill), Chili Peppers (Lake Cowichan), and Dish It Up (Duncan) for their hard work and enthusiasm for preparing fresh, local food.

One of our favourite recipes featured at the festival was Bessie’s Winter Soup, which was contributed by the Cowichan Community Kitchens. This recipe and more are featured in the Cob Oven Cookbook.

Bessie’s Winter Soup (Serves 12)


1lb Ground Beef

2 Medium Onions, Chopped

4 Stalks Celery, Chopped

1 Green Pepper, Chopped

2 Tbsp Oil

4 Carrots, Diced

3 Potatoes, Diced

8 Cups of Water

5 Sprigs Fresh Parsley, Chopped

1–796 ml Can Diced Tomatoes

1–5 ½ oz can Tomato Paste

4 Cubes Beef Bouillon

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 Tsp Paprika

1 Tsp Salt

¼ Tsp Black Pepper

1 Small Head Cabbage

1 Small Head Cabbage (6–7 Cups Coarsely Chopped)


Brown ground beef.  Drain any excess fat.

  1. Add oil, onions, celery, and green pepper.  Cook until soft.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except the cabbage.
  3. Combine thoroughly and simmer uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add chopped cabbage and simmer covered for 1 hour.
  5. If soup becomes too thick, add 2–3 cups of hot water.
  6. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Frank Wall Photography


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