As You Like It

Words & Photos by Bobby Herron

As You Like It Products & Catering epitomizes the farm-to-table approach to food production and service. Chef, caterer, and food producer Laura Agnew believes you can’t get too much of a good thing. After sampling some of her tremendously tasty appies at an event, I have to concur. The duck, which came from her own property, I couldn’t get enough of.

Laura started cooking at home at age 11. When it was time to choose a career path and go to college, it was either horse racing or cooking. Fortunately for the Comox Valley, she chose cooking with high quality ingredients and growing her own food. She’s a tremendous advocate for locally grown meat and produce because, she says, sitting down to a meal that’s locally sourced brings her great pleasure.

Laura has a history of innovation when it comes to food preparation and production. While working in Toronto, Australia, and finally back on our West Coast, she learned the art of creating and preserving. Eventually, she took an organic farming course before ending up in Victoria and finally making her home in the Valley, where she can be seen at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays with her tempting display of hand-made products. Visit her there to find that tasty ingredient, the one containing the attention to quality and detail that you’re looking for to enhance your cooking and dining experience.

The impressive list of As You Like It products includes: chutneys, jellies, salad dressings, vinegars, sauces and soups. “I believe the Comox Valley is the next up-and-coming foodie location” says Laura. “The area has more to offer and more farms than places like Cowichan Valley.”

Laura loves to work with the knowledgeable venders at Comox Valley Farmers’ Market. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the customers, to receive their feedback one on one, and to advise them on menu ideas, recipes and the use of As You Like It products.

“I believe people are starting to realize the importance of eating food from people they can talk to, all while keeping their money in the Valley. Knowing that farmers who care have grown their food makes people feel so much better about what they’re eating. Factory farming isn’t the way to go.”

At the moment, the biggest challenge for As You Like It is the cost of building a kitchen for all its operations; Laura’s having to innovate in that regard as well. I visited her at the Union Bay Community Centre. Her place is just up the hill and so, for now, the arrangement is just fine. I can think of worse places to work than across the street from the ocean.

You also can find As You Like It online.