Owner, Chambar, and Board Member, Vancouver Economic Commission
Karri Schuermans runs Vancouver’s much-loved Chambar restaurant and helped create lineups-out-the-door at that restaurant, as well as at Café Medina and the Dirty Apron cooking school—but her focus on serving up local food may have an impact beyond the crowded sidewalk outside her rooms. As a restaurateur, Schuermans recognizes the importance of growing food close to home, and how political changes can threaten our local agriculture (she says, for example, that many of our greenhouses in the Agricultural Land Reserve [ALR] are abandoning fruit and veggie production in favour of growing cannabis). An imported tomato doesn’t support local farms or benefit our local economy, and it has a much larger eco-footprint than anything grown in our ’hood.
Photo by Makito Inomata
Schuermans has been on the Vancouver Economic Commission board since 2016, and her passion for protecting local food systems sparked her determination to lead a transition in B.C.’s Lower Mainland to a low-carbon economy. “In doing so, we are choosing the economy and the environment,” says Schuermans. This year, she is spearheading a collaborative initiative with the end goal of reducing our carbon emissions—and making sure agriculture doesn’t get forgotten in the process. The initiative will lead to a master plan; the plan will lead to infrastructure in the Lower Mainland that better supports newer, greener technology like electric cars (and protects the environment, and our local food systems, in the process). Though her collaborative initiative is complex, having accessible, sustainable food is at the root of her work. “Finding local food was getting harder and harder, and that was what attracted me to doing this,” says Schuermans.
Q&A with Karri Schuermans
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi: it’s an authentic collection of recipes that reflects Jerusalem’s melting pot of Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian communities.
Most overrated ingredient?
What’s always in your fridge?
Dark chocolate, calamansi vinegar, preserved lemons, cheese, lots of butter... and vegemite.
What’s you go-to breakfast?
What’s a kitchen hack more people should know about?
Add sparkling water for fluffy scrambled eggs.
Guilty pleasure snack?
Crinkle-cut dill pickle chips!