Quick Bites from Pender


About Theresa - Island Vittles I cooked and baked alongside my mom and grandmas from the time I could stand on a stool and reach the counter. I cooked breakfast (eggs – scrambled, poached or coddled – bacon, toast and OJ) with my dad every Sunday for the greater part of my youth.

My family ate out a lot. My dad had an appreciation for GOOD food that was unusual in the 70’s. My mom, two brothers and I were happy to tag along to his newest find – sometimes fine dining – sometimes not. My dad’s enthusiasm for food sparked a passion in me. To this day, I spend most of my free time in the kitchen by choice. Island Vittles - About Theresa Carle-Sanders

So, given that passion, one may wonder how (or why) I ended up at business school, and eventually working as an operations manager at FedEx?

I’ll skip over the tediousness that was my life back then to bring you up to date. In 2003 we quit our jobs and my husband Howard and I moved from my hometown of Vancouver to Pender Island, a small island on the west coast of British Columbia, population approx 2000 — an amazing place to call home.

theresa-graduation-medalTwo years I went to culinary school, where, (Howard insists that I tell you), I won THE medal. That is, I finished at the top of the class. How’s that for a confidence booster?

So now it’s time for me and my medal to talk about food.

Before I start, there are some things you should know: Foraged foods are some of my favourites, I default to my countertop convection oven when possible, and the idea of Chorizo Fried Rice – even under the guise of fusion cuisine – makes me feel queasy.

Fifteen years ago, Howard moved to Canada from his birthplace in the UK just to be with me, About Howard - Island Vittlesand that makes me feel pretty special. His resume includes zookeeper, safari guide and tour director — all before I even knew him! He is now a realtor here on Pender — check out his website at Homes On Pender.

Despite being English, Howard has a naturally discerning palate. That makes him IV’s chief taster, along with assistant photographer and occasional bottle washer. A multi-tasker if there ever was one.

The third member of the team is Koda, or the Dooze, as he is mostly known around here.

He’s a 6 year old Shiba Inu that we adopted from the SPCA this past year. Although we’re still getting to know each other, we’ve determined he likes cheese, sourdough bread and walks on the beach. He turns his nose up at mass produced dog biscuits and all things potato — chips, fries, pancakes, etc (you get the picture).

  1. Love your page and can’t wait to give your cornbread a go. To one of my favorite cooks and great friends… congratulations!

  2. Thanks so much Alex! I miss seeing you everyday…

  3. Nice site, Theresa! Looking forward to more… (I think you mentioned foraged foods somewhere. Are you going to do a column on Pender’s wild edibles?)

  4. “Despite being English” you say in reference to Howard’s palate. That’s too funny! Anyway, I like your blog a lot, and I’m not just saying that to be polite here on the interweb (as the old folks in my family say). I will be checking in from time to time. Oh, and I used to have a Shiba Inu named Pelay. I loved her so much-she was my first dog love. I didn’t even know I liked dogs till she came along. Now I love all of them b/c of her.

  5. Great page and story – we are on Pender and my husband loves to cook, too. His favourites are foraged or home raised food – so stinging nettles, wild mushrooms, clams, oysters and you should try his kelp soup.

  6. Your blog is inspired, hilarious, but mostly, your creativity in food is world class. We are so lucky to have you here on Pender.

  7. Hi there! I found your blog by chance and I love it! I can’t wait to try some of your recipes. The funny thing is that I used the same format for my blog 🙂 I’m also Canadian (from Ontario) and I was pleasantly surprised to see your Inu 🙂 I have been wanting to get an Akita for Years! So it’s wonderful to see a relative of the akita, considering how unknown these breeds are in North America.
    I am currently working in cancer research and dream of leaving my job to go to professional culinary school. So I smiled when I read that you did something similar. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind telling me a bit about whether or not you are currently working in the food industry and if so, how you steered your career after you graduated from cooking school.


    • Alison, great to hear from you! Koda, our Shiba Inu also says hi.

      As for my culinary path, I took a leap 2 years ago and attended a 6 month full time course in Vancouver. That involved living with my Mom during the week, and then returning to Pender for the weekends. After graduation, I got a job at a restaurant here on the island. That lasted for the summer. After a couple more restaurant jobs, which I enjoyed and learned a lot from, I am now kept very busy blogging, catering and writing for two periodicals. I get to talk about food all day long — my version of heaven!

      Moving into the food industry can be a tough switch. The pay is low, the hours long, and starting at the bottom can be trying, especially at my age! But if you really love food, it`s probably the only place you`ll be happy. Try out different jobs within the industry — try to work with older, classically trained chefs. I found that smaller restaurants was where I learned the most — I washed a lot of dishes, but I also prepped and plated food alongside the owner — long before I would have been given that responsibility in a larger restaurant with a bigger kitchen staff.

      Best of luck! Let me know how it goes…

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