Located east of our city in the booming metropolis that is Sherwood Park, you will find Original Fare’s newest member Café Haven. Probably the funkist spot in the strip mall, Café Haven prides itself on freshly made food and some of the tastiest coffee around. Headed up by Michael and Julie, this little cafe has even taken to the world of social media to promote both their name and product (twitter). On top of everything else, they are also supporters of local talent with live music on Thursday.
Cook, mother, wife and cafe owner!
How would you classify your cooking style?
I don’t think I have one. I’ve lots of influences from my travels around the world which covered India, Asia, Australia and South America. I was about to travel around Europe but much to my annoyance, I met my future husband in the UK and he spoilt everything!
Who taught you how to cook?
I taught myself – no culinary schooling I’m afraid! I have a knack to make something out of nothing and my husband claims I have a talent to combine flavours.
What are 5 kitchen ingredients/tools you can’t live without?
salt, pepper, onion and garlic? Basics but they’re essentials and I could never travel without them! On a more imaginative note, I would probably plump for goat’s cheese, avocado, coconut milk, peppers and non-stick pans! (I hate excessive use of oil).
When did you realize that this was your passion? And do you have any passions outside of cooking?
I had an argument with my husband about this question, because I’m not sure if this is my passion – I don’t think I would cook for anyone else, but because it is my business I enjoy it. I enjoy the creative freedom I have: with my soups, the daily bread puddings….creativity often comes through in daily specials but we’re doing less of those at the moment as we’re too busy trying to keep up with the regular prep work and the catering coming through. Good reasons I guess but I wish we could spend more time on specials.
Outside of the cafe, I love every minute with my son, Matheo. I love swimming but don’t do it enough. My husband and I LOVE scuba diving – hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos were a traveling highlight. One day we’ll get out to Egypt to do some more!
What is your biggest culinary guilty pleasure, something the foodies would maybe frown upon?
Heinz baked beans in molasses and eaten directly out of the tin. Gross combination eaten in a gross manner. If you going to be bad, you might as well go the whole hog!
When feeling under the weather, what comfort food do you create?
Is there anywhere you would like to live and work for additional culinary influence?
From my travels around the world, one of my favourite places for food was Thailand. I was not only amazed by the flavour combinations but also the speed at which they cook. Lots to learn there.
Are there any food trends on the horizon you would like to work with?
I’ve no idea of any food trends. The cafe is open seven days a week and any small amount of time left outside of the business is devoted to my 4-mth old son! My husband is fascinated by the world of coffee and is constantly looking at developments – it’s important since it makes up a large part of the business. I know he would like the cafe to have a pour-over station (like Credo) but we don’t have the room.
Anything you want your customers to know, that they may never hear?
There’s so much I don’t know where to begin!
1. So much of our food is made from scratch but I think many customers assume we buy everything in, for example, our ham & split pea soup is made with the ham bone in the pot (and is from a joint we buy locally).
2. We’re trying to locally source as much as we can and in the spring we hope to work even closer with Sherwood Meats and use their ties with the farming community to get our veggies.
3. We compost as well as recycle (heck, even our website is green!).
4. Our involvement with coffee is fairly high: my husband works closely with Transcend Coffee in all aspects: recently he was discussing with Transcend’s roaster, Chad Moss, roasting the Finca Vista Hermosa three different ways to see what works best on the Fetco Extractor (our drip coffee machine).
5. We were also recently voted No.2 in Edmonton by Liane Faulder for the best cinnamon buns in the city!
Sherwood Park, Alberta
9 Sioux Road