by Andrew Morrison | Local chef/writer and all around excellent man Owen Lightly passed away last night at Vancouver General Hospital after a year-long fight with cancer. It was two days before his 32nd birthday. I’ve only just been told, so my head is reeling. I know that while it was a privilege to publish his words, it was a bigger joy to have been his friend and a real thrill to watch him flourish. Owen was one the most genuine people I’ve ever come across in my life – a real West Coast boy with a very appropriate surname. Tonight, my family will be raising glasses and celebrating the life he lived. I trust that you and yours – in the kitchen, behind the bar, on the floor, or at home – will take a moment to do the same. Cheers, to Owen.
by Andrew Morrison | Chef David Hawksworth and his team are putting together a second fundraising supper to help fellow chef Owen Lightly continue his fight against cancer. The wine-paired, multi-course supper costs $100 and will be held in Hawksworth’s elegant York Room in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia at 7pm on the evening of Sunday, March 30th. To reserve a seat, call 778-945-3325 or email brody [at] hawksworth.ca. Our friend Katharine Manson took the following shots at the last fundraising supper for Owen and has supplied them to us to give you an idea as to what to expect. In a word: deliciousness.
Honour Bound details the many cool things that we feel honour bound to check out because they either represent Vancouver exceptionally well or are inherently super awesome in one way or another
Thanks to an incredible response from the local service industry (and notably beyond), tickets to the May 19th fundraiser for Butter On The Endive chef Owen Lightly at Vancouver Urban Winery have now sold out. We’ve been told that no tickets will be issued at the door. Owen – a highly respected and well liked member of BC’s restaurant community – was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. All the funds raised at the event will help him and his partner Naomi in their fight against the disease.
NB. If you weren’t able to purchase a ticket in time it is still possible to donate.
by Andrew Morrison | A few weeks ago I was surprised to learn that my friend Owen Lightly – best known as a chef, blogger, one of this year’s Top 40 Foodies Under 40, the founder of Butter On The Endive catering company, a long-time Scout contributor, and one of the most honest, sincere, and down-to-earth individuals that many of his peers have ever had the good fortune to come across - had been diagonsed with stage 4 colon cancer.
It was hard to believe at first. We were supposed to destroy Calabria and Sicily together this summer! He’s only 30 years old, for crissakes! I could write about how the disease had absolutely dropped the ball in this case, that Owen was totally the wrong guy, but there’s no denying that it’s the real deal. Owen is sick. He starts treatment – an aggressive course of chemotherapy – this morning.
My family paid him a visit at his home over the weekend. He was in high, determined spirits; his eyes as bright and attitude as philosophical as ever. He expressed amazement at the overwhelming outpouring of support that had come his way in recent days, and was glad to have so many well wishers paying him visits. “I’m valuing relationships a lot more that I think I used to,” he told us. “They’re what’s most important to me now.”
Save for the amplified love of friends and family, there are no guarantees with cancer. Those who choose to fight it can beat it, and Owen is a fighter. His outlook is very positive, but to face cancer is to turn away from everything else. The truth of it is that he and his partner Naomi could use a lot of help during this battle. Though Butter On The Endive is still going strong, it will need to slow down as Owen gets the best of this thing, and financial assistance is a must. And so, on Owen and Naomi’s behalf, the local food and beverage industry has come together to throw a big benefit party at Vancouver Urban Winery on the night of May 19th.
It’s called Food Fight, and attending is what everyone can do to show Owen their love and best wishes as he undergoes treatment. If you want cheer him on and have his back, purchase your tickets here before they’re all gone. A lot of great chefs and bartenders have jumped up and offered their skills for the night, as have a seriously impressive collection of suppliers and artisan producers, not to mention the one and only Rich Hope, who will be on hand with his guitar. It’s really awesome to see the industry coming together like this in support of one of their own. And believe you me, Owen is humbled by all the love.
Tickets for Food Fight are only $60. The bar is by donation, so be sure to bring cash. 100% of the ticket sales and proceeds of this fundraiser will go directly to Owen. If you can’t make it, you can donate by clicking next to the ticket sales box.
UPDATE: The BC Hospitality Foundation is generously supporting Food Fight and will match funds raised at the event up to $5000. “We know we have a tight industry and we know that they are generous in times of trouble. But we are still in awe of the way our friends and colleagues have rallied to support Owen,” says Alan Sacks, BC Hospitality Foundation Executive Director. “The Foundation is an important part of the community and is more than glad to be able to support these fundraising activities with a $5000 matching donation. The situation that Owen finds himself in is exactly why the Foundation exists. Our mantra of ‘working together to help our own’ is being lived out in front of us by all those who have stepped up to the plate on Owen’s behalf. We are proud to be part of “Food Fight” and proud of the way our community has responded.”
Friends and well-wishers are also invited to attend the special fundraising supper that award-winning chef David Hawksworth is cooking up for Owen at his eponymous restaurant in the Hotel Georgia on May 5th (Owen came up in the trade under David Hawksworth at South Granville’s storied West restaurant, and remains a key mentor to this day). There are only 50 tickets available at $200 each, with all of the proceeds going to Owen. Details and menu here.
UPDATE: FOOD FIGHT IS NOW SOLD OUT. The venue is at capacity and no additional tickets will be sold or released at the door.
Butter On The Endive | Code/Website | A codeword that cooks in restaurants with open kitchens use to let their colleagues know that they have seen an especially attractive woman sit down for dinner. Also a catering company launched by local chef Owen Lightly, who passed away in 2014.
Usage | “Can I please get some butter on the endive for Table 56!”
Definitive Records is a new Scout column that asks interesting Vancouverites to pick the three albums that anchor their musical tastes. Today, we hear from local chef…
Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks | LISTEN | “The album that makes break ups seem romantic.”
Dan Bern – Fifty Eggs | LISTEN | “My mom dragged me to a Dan Bern concert at the Gabriola Island community hall when I was 15 and I was an instant convert.”
Neil Young – Ragged Glory | LISTEN | “Out of all the amazing eras of Neil, this is my favourite.”
by Owen Lightly | Caponata is a sweet and sour vegetable concoction from Sicily. It follows the general rule that if you fry things in hot oil – beautiful summer vegetables in this case – they will usually come out very tasty. The basic idea is to separately cook a variety of vegetables (whatever is in season and plentiful) in hot oil and then marinate them in a sweet and sour tomato sauce. The addition of pine nuts and raisins is a smart move, and something you see a lot of in Sicilian cooking. Once it has been left to find itself for a couple of hours, it can be enjoyed with bread, pasta, fish, meat, eggs or directly out of the bowl with a spoon.
After you’ve made it a few times, you will probably have made a few of your own tweaks, and then it will be yours. Forever. After the leap is a recipe we came up with that sees caponata and fried squash blossom next to roasted halibut… Read more
by Owen Lightly | The traditional Spanish dish tortilla de patatas combines four workhorse ingredients – eggs, onions, potatoes and olive oil – with the help of a little black magic to make them sing. The black magic I speak of is the Maillard reaction, which is what happens when food is exposed to heat and turns tasty golden brown. This is what makes a lot of things very delicious, including French fries, maple syrup, coffee and this recipe that you’re about to make. When I’m feeling saucy, I like to add smoked sablefish into the mix, which ups the richness quotient and adds a certain I don’t know what. Enjoy! Read more
The GOODS from Butter On The Endive
Vancouver, BC | Chef Owen Lightly of Butter on the Endive is pleased to be hosting the second Chef In Residence, with collaborators Adam Chandler of BETA 5 Chocolates, James Town of Mikuni Wild Harvest, Blue Owl Antiques,Tonio Creanza, & Luis Valdizon.
The Michas family, owners of the Connaught building and Blue Owl Antiques on the corner of Broadway and Vine have a beautiful apartment upstairs calling our name and we have decided to jump on the opportunity to create another unique dining experience there. This will be the location of the second Chef in Residence, by Butter on the Endive on Saturday, May 26th & Sunday, May 27th. Chef Owen Lightly is also very excited to be collaborating with Tonio Creanza, of Creanza Olive Oil from Puglia, Italy. As part of the dinners, Amanda Michas (of Blue Owl Antiques) and Mr. Creanza will host an olive oil tasting in the Blue Owl shop before guests move upstairs to a plated, 4-course intimate dinner prepared by Owen and the collaborating chef.
We are thrilled to have Amanda Michas, owner of Blue Owl Antiques, be not only our lovely host, but also curator of the space. She will curate a small collection for the dining environment, all of which will be available for sale. Luis Valdizon will be gracing both upstairs and downstairs with his artistic eye, photographing the magic. Get all the details after the leap… Read more
Owen Lightly, the chef behind Butter on the Endive (and Scout’s Pound of Butter food column), recently ran a series of Chef in Residence dinners in one of the apartments above Le Marche St George. There were two seatings per evening for three evenings in a row with a different ‘theme song/playlist” and chef/collaborator for each (Jane Cornborough, Alvaro Musso, Adam Chandler). We attended the first seating on Thursday May 3rd, and as you can see, it was pretty outstanding. The night had a Neil Young I Wanna Live With A Cinnamon Girl vibe and Chef Owen Lightly and his collaborator Adam Chandler (former-chef-now-chocolatier of Beta5 fame) served a fabulous spring meal of albacore tuna with charred ramp, rhubarb risotto with white chocolate (daring, but spot on), Yarrow Meadows duck breast, taleggio sponge cake with shiro plum, and buckwheat crumble smothered in birch caramel. Matching the cuisine was – wow – the setting. What a stunning place to dine! To keep abreast of future BOTE suppers, be sure to follow them on Twitter.
by Owen Lightly | If you haven’t got guanciale in your life, it’s high time you did. Made by curing a pig’s jowl in a similar fashion to pancetta, the result is very porky. A common ingredient in Roman kitchens, it is found in many of the area’s classic pasta dishes such as Carbonara, Amatriciana, Gricia and Cacio e Pepe.
When I travelled to Rome a couple of years ago, I asked the help of a local food blogger Eleonora Baldwin, author of Aglio, Olio e Peporoncino to steer me in the right direction of the good shit. I turned to her again for some insight into the place guanciale has in traditional Roman cooking.
“Historically, it occupies an important role in cucina povera, which is peasant cooking on ‘poor’ ingredients that were readily available and inexpensive,” Baldwin wrote via email. “Meat was a luxury item on the poor man’s table, and when it was present, it consisted of less noble cuts of meat like tripe, sweetbreads, intestines, liver, oxtail and kidneys. Otherwise it was used in sparing quantities to give flavor, like the small, fried bits guanciale in pasta sauces.”
Years ago, while looking to expand my Italian cooking repertoire, I started trying pasta dishes out of a Mario Batali cookbook. One of my favourites was bucatini all’Amatriciana: hollow noodles dressed with a guanciale-studded spiced tomato sauce. More than the sum of its parts, this dish is in my top-ten of things to eat on planet earth. Read more
by Owen Lightly (with photos from Michael Sider) | I have a thing for oysters. When I think about them, I get this tingly feeling deep in the pit of my stomach and can’t help but smile. Whether they’re served raw, fried, stewed, broiled or grilled, it doesn’t matter. I’m down for all of it.
Whenever possible, I like to order oysters directly from the farmers themselves. This ensures they are very fresh (sometimes less than a day out of the water) and keeps them out of those aquarium-like tanks that some seafood distributors store them in. Though useful for keeping oysters alive for long periods of time, these tanks eventually filter out the natural ocean brine, which in my eyes is one of the best parts.
This dish was first served at a dinner event Butter on the Endive hosted last year after a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. With chicken and waffles as the inspiration, this dish is not subtle, nuanced or healthy by any means, but it does seem to make people smile, which is never a bad thing. Read more
by Owen Lightly | For reasons that I will explain, I recently set out to create a dish inspired by the meatball plate from the Ikea cafeteria. As a child visiting from the Island, I always looked forward to trips to the blue and yellow warehouse in Richmond. It usually meant the purchase of some budget piece of furniture, frozen yogurt, hot dogs, and if I was lucky, a plate of meatballs.
For whatever reason, the meatballs held mystique. Maybe it was because up until that point I had only ever had them with tomato sauce. What the hell were those crazy Swedes doing serving them with gravy? Looking back, and having tried them again recently, they just aren’t that good. The lustre has definitely worn off and all that remains is some sad pork meatballs swimming in cloying gravy and served with a pile of shitty mashed potatoes saddled with lingonberry sauce.
Here’s my updated version of the dish, which attempts to play with the flavours and textures of the original, while harnessing the feeling of a nine year old trying something for the first time. Read more