Restaurant: One Planet Catering
Cuisine: West Coast/Pacific Northwest/Pacific Rim
Last visited: March 17, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC
Address: 395 Railway Street
Price Range: Varies/Dependent
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 4 (based on what I tried)
- Chef Michael Kraus
- “Green” catering company
- Focus on lunch catering
- Environmentally friendly
- Mostly organic/natural
- 5% of sales to social cause
- No plastic/paper packaging
- West Coast/fusion food
- Catering service
- Private catering available
I’m actually quite honoured and humbled to have the opportunity to meet Chef Michael Kraus and learn more about One Planet Catering. One Planet Catering is one of Sherman and my choices for Vancouver’s 1st Foodie Feast, a charity event we’re helping organize. To be honest, Sherman and I didn’t get to try the food before selecting it, but based on the company’s philosophy and our personal research and references, we were more than happy to have them as one of our selected restaurants.
One Planet Catering is one of Vancouver’s few environmentally friendly catering companies. They take the “going green” idea to the extreme and the operation is very unique. It’s all about respecting the Earth, providing a balanced diet, and using the most possible of local, organic, sustainable and natural ingredients. However I do find that respecting the Earth is their most emphasized philosophy and I think that concept was best represented in what I experienced.
So what’s the big deal? So far this sounds like the initiative of a lot of restaurants in Metro Vancouver? Well yes, while that may be true, I don’t think anyone has taken it to the same level that One Planet Catering has. Or at least not with this style either. I highly recommend you to read more about owner and Chef Michael Kraus’ philosophy for One Planet Catering here.
I was quite touched and emotionally affected by his story and it influenced us to make “going green” a bigger focus at Vancouver’s 1st Foodie Feast. Change doesn’t happen over night, and I’m not exactly always environmentally friendly either, but I’ll sure try my best and do what I can to help spread the positive message.
There’s something very rustic yet classy about One Planet Catering. It has a very old European style and charm, yet the food speaks of innovative West Coast and Pacific Northwest cuisine, with many Euro-Asian inspired items. They mainly focuses on lunch office catering, but they also offer private catering and even private chef catering for smaller parties.
One Planet Catering shares an industrial kitchen with another cafe, but they don’t have an actual restaurant. As we arrived for our meeting to select the menu for Vancouver’s 1st Foodie Feast, we were also treated to a One Planet Catering ” wooden lunch box”. All lunch boxes are delivered in actual wooden boxes and they are completely free of plastic and paper wastage. It was all quite impressive and an extravagant way to present a lunch, and I felt like I was opening a treasure box.
It was pretty much a restaurant dining experience in a box. The lunch box sets are $14.95, but there is also a hefty $15 delivery charge which covers drop off and pick up of the boxes. They will eventually offer individual online catering with a limited menu, but for now it’s mainly group orders they take. I know it seems rather expensive, unless it’s a group order, but considering the nature of the business, it is a bit expected.
The only thing I question is that the carbon foot print may not necessarily be eliminated if they have to drive around to pick up all the boxes… I eventually would like to see them using hybrid cars to deliver these. Again it’s just something to think about and I only feel comfortable putting that topic out there for discussion. I still respect the business and passion but I also have to be honest.
This is what caught my attention first! It was the cutest little touch and it symbolizes almost everything One Planet Catering and Michael Kraus stand for. The reasons the salt and pepper shakers are turtles is Kraus’ friendly reminder that people need to slow down and think about their food, environment and social responsibility. At this point I was completely infatuated with the philosophy of the whole business.
Each wooden box is hand crafted and the bottom is cut to precisely fit the shape of each dish to make delivery easier. Also all the food was served in ceramic or glass, the utensils were brand name silverware rolled with a cloth napkin and there was no sign of plastic wrap. However this also means the food may risk drying out before it’s served. Regardless it was still definitely one of the most intense lunch boxes I’ve had to date.
The items in the lunch boxes are simple yet sophisticated in recipes and flavour. It’s not gourmet to the point of caviar, but it is a bit fancier and made with fresh ingredients. My lunch box included a smaller Caramelized Pear & Brie Croissant Sandwich Croissant ($7.95), half a Tuna Salad Sandwich with Sweet Chili Sauce Multi-Grain Bread ($6.95), a side of red beet salad ($3.75), a chocolate brownie ($3.25) and a cranberry oatmeal cookie ($2.25). All items may also be ordered separately and all ingredients and prices are listed on the online menu. Overall the food was enjoyable, but not what I fell in love with most, the experience was memorable and the concept is nothing but admirable.
On the table:
- Around $34/dozen
- This was actually quite simple, although it’s probably nothing you haven’t really tried before if you’re familiar with these ingredients.
- The tuna was quite pureed, creamy and buttery so it was a nice contrast with the crunchy toasted brioche.
- It actually wasn’t that spicy, but well flavoured and I could taste aromatic and nutty sesame oil and a hint of ginger in the background.
- A tang would be nice, or perhaps some crispy garlic chips on top, or even wasabi sprouts underneath the tuna tartare to give it more of a kick.
- 5 Spice duck confit with a potato cake and taro chips (Around $34/dozen)
- I enjoyed this the most and it was a nice Euro-Asian inspired appetizer with a good balance of French and Chinese flavours.
- The duck confit was sweet, tangy, savoury, moist and tender with the cinnamon and star anise flavours coming in the background.
- It was almost like an European take on Peking Duck wraps and they did a good job with it.
- There was definitely some Hoisin sauce in it, so it was a classic combination of sweet and bold Hoisin sauce with duck and even fresh chives which was very reminiscent of the traditional Peking duck wrap.
- I loved the contrasting textures of the shredded duck confit, crispy and creamy potato cake underneath and then the added crunch of the taro chips, which really did it for me. The taro chips really made the contrast and broke up the components.
- The potato cake was a lightly breaded and crispy mashed potato patty and it was a great alternative to a typical crostini or brioche.
- Raspberry parfait mousse, baked meringue with Grand Marnier, on a toasted coconut macaroon and topped with a fresh raspberry (Around $34/dozen)
- This wasn’t too sweet and there was a nice tartness from the raspberry and contrasting textures, but at the same time it wasn’t anything over the top.
- I would consider it more of a raspberry mousse parfait before I would a “Deconstructed Baked Alaska”, especially since it’s made with mousse instead of ice cream. It also didn’t have that warm and col contrast.
- The coconut macaron was a bit dry at times and came off like a dry sponge cake, but considering the size it’s really easy to over bake.
- I could taste the Grand Marnier in the initial notes right away, but it went away quickly and then it was just raspberry and a marshmallow meringue that were both lightly sweetened.
- It was creamy, yet very light and airy and I could get the coconut shreds at the very end, but I would have rather had the crispiness coming from the meringue rather than the coconut, which was a bit shard like.
- I just wish it was more moist with perhaps a drizzle of raspberry coulis, especially since mousse doesn’t have a refreshing or moist aspect like ice cream does.
- If you look at the components everything was a bit dry except for the natural raspberry juice, so although it was still good, it could have been better.