Stellar Food Group
James is a fourth generation “Islander” with family root going back as far as the Colony of Vancouver Island. His childhood is overflowing with stories of small farm life, food production, commercial fishing and food preservation. It is no wonder that he started working in commercial kitchens by the age of 15, quickly working his way up to Kitchen Manager at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort at the age of 17. Apprenticing under three of the islands’ top chefs, he achieved Red Seal Chef Certification at only 19.
A robust food career spanning over 25 years has seen James not only at the helm of high profile restaurants, but using his expertise and passion for the industry as:
- Past President of North Vancouver Island Chefs Association
- Co-owner of Brambles Market in 2008 to 2010 – BC (Canada’s) first all local full service grocery store
- Contract Restaurant and Event Consultant
- Substitute instructor for Culinary Arts Program at North Island College
- Director at large Coombs Farmers Institute
- Active with local food security initiatives
- Co-owner of Stellar Food Group – parent company for Whole Hog Farm Sausages and other value added brands
James has just accepted a position with the Ministry of Agriculture as the new Food Processing Consultant in the Sector Development Branch. This new position will see him working across the Province of British Columbia providing technical expertise and strategic planning for the Agrifood Sector
How to Connect
Connect in Person
James is always on the move. His new office in Victoria and a network across the province will see James at all the Food Shows and Exhibitions he can fit in a schedule. James can be found heading into the backcountry for a hike, perusing a local Farmers market or sipping a coffee and thinking over a new business idea.
Connect in Business
AN ENDANGERED BREED?
AN ENDANGERED BREED? How do we preserve, protect and grow numbers of and access to Artisan Producers on Vancouver Island?
November 16, 2016
En·dan·gered spe·cies –
- a species that is seriously at risk of extinction.
- “special collections of rare and endangered species”
- a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.
- Shokunin is a Japanese word for “artisan” or “craftsman”, which also implies a pride in one’s own work. Shokunin means not only having technical skill, but also implies an attitude and social consciousness… a social obligation to work his best for the general welfare of the people, [an] obligation both material and spiritual.
Canada enjoys one of the strongest organic markets in the world. An analysis of all distribution channels (from mainstream retail to farmers’ markets) finds that total products produced, processed or packaged in Canada are worth $1.45 billion a year, capturing 51% of total food and beverage sales. In 2012, British Columbia accounted for 22% of organic food and beverage sales (over $662 million) and was home to approximately 13% of all organic operators in Canada. [Source: Canada Organic Trade Association]. While BC constitutes only 13% of Canada’s population, Statistics Canada reports that 26% of Canadian certified organic food sales is made by British Columbians – the strongest market in Canada. It has grown by an average of 11% since the recession, no doubt outpacing the growth of other food sectors (MacKinnon, 2013(link is external)). To date, most of BC’s organic production is exported to the United States, Europe and Japan(link is external).
Perhaps not an endangered breed after all. But, with all of this good news about this sector, is there an opportunity for the number of artisan businesses to grow?
James Street, Owner & Chief Innovation Officer of Stellar Food Group will present compelling insights, lead collaborative dialogue, and aim to determine a path to increasing capacity and access to V.I. Artisan Producers.
By the end of this session you will:
- Have a greater understanding of the Vancouver Island supply chain of Artisans: providers, processors, sellers and consumers.
- Gain clarity on what differentiates Artisan Producers from the competition – i.e. light industrial growers
- Be aware of business growth issues through the lens of small business (e.g. bottle neck with processors, risks of mixing premium and commodity processing, getting product in usable quantities)
- Be able to identify the market gaps and in creating a sustainable industry.
- Be invited to contribute ideas and/or resources to positively influence increased access to local artisan producers
- Create clear actions that will increase capacity and encourage growth