Gourmet Warehouse has been an amazing resource for gourmands and home cooks for well over two decades now. Owner Caren McSherry opened the original shop on Pandora Street some twenty-five years ago, and has been at their current location on Hastings and Clark for nearly thirteen years. “At the time, the area was pretty lean and mean,” McSherry recalls. “It’s coming around a lot. It’s way better than it used to be. We put a lot of money into the building to make it shoppable.” A one-stop shop for cookware, kitchen utensils, bakeware, and anything else your foodie heart may desire – Gourmet Warehouse was open long before the area was considered a place to do business. “This was a building we could afford,” McSherry says. McSherry began her culinary teaching career in 1974, and is a published author of six cookbooks. “I don’t teach nearly as much as I used to,” she tells us. “I do about five or six classes a year.” A regular on local television and radio, Caren is also the co-founder of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a global affiliation of women in leadership roles in culinary, hospitality and beverage. “We founded a chapter here, it’s about twenty-two years old and we have about 150 members,” McSherry tells us. When it comes to the her job, Caren says it’s her love of discovering new products that is the most fun. “I love bringing the most exciting, newest finds from around the world. We travel a lot to bring Vancouver what is everywhere,” McSherry explains. “It doesn’t come here easily. You’ve got to go find it.” Caren says that keeping up with food trends is a big part of the job, and it’s always changing. “We were just in Milan at a food show,” McSherry explains. “You know, you think you’ve reached the top of balsamic vinegar, well wrong – because now they’ve got something called balsamic pearls, where they use gastronomy and create little beads from the aged balsamic. Who would know unless you went looking for it?” The Gourmet Warehouse holds an annual event called The Chocolate Challenge, which just wrapped for its third consecutive year. “We raised over $17,000,” McSherry says. “We trumped last year’s take by about a thousand dollars.” All the money is donated to the Strathcona Backpack Program, and Project Chef. To date, Gourmet Warehouse has helped raise over $40,000 for the charities. Visit the Gourmet Warehouse website for more info and to browse their products, and stay social on Twitter and Instagram.