On a busy afternoon in Granville Island market, I made my way to EdibleBC at the north end of the market. As I passed vendors of fresh produce, meat, breads and pastries, the market hummed to my delight, with tourists and locals. I had the opportunity to meet Eric Pateman and learn more about his business. We found a seat at the Granville Island Tea Merchant, one of Eric’s neighbours, on a first name basis no less, “Good afternoon Eric, what can I get for you?” Just like an episode of Cheers, everyone seems to know his name.
Later Eric explained, “It’s all about relationships in this business”. Owner of EdibleBC, Eric Pateman’s business is showcasing local flavour and he is a pioneer in culinary tourism.
Truly passionate about what he does, Eric’s energy is fresh and inspiring to hear, so when he began his story from the beginning I was all ears, “I’m a fourth generation Vancouverite and I’ve been cooking since I was 12 years old. I had my first catering company when I was 17.” Now he is a trained Chef, has an Oxford MBA, and is well known in Vancouver’s food industry.
“I’m a local guy, that thought there had to be something better,” and so Eric left Vancouver on a search for something more. He did find some inspiration in Paris, France, during his travels, which he brought back to Vancouver. And EdibleVancouver was born. “I thought it would just be a website where I could tell people where to eat, and didn’t know if would go anywhere. Six months later we had five employees.” His business began as a culinary concierge, for people to tour the great eats of Vancouver, and it grew into events, and now retail, online shopping and even blogging.
In 2005, EdibleBritishColumbia opened on Granville Island in the spring. Known for distributing quality local artisan products, they host interactive market dinners after hours in Granville Island, and other creative culinary tourism adventures.
What inspires you about your work? Its different everyday, everyday brings new challenges and opportunities. Companies approach us everyday with new products; we receive 20 – 30 products a week. We promote the best of what everyone else is doing. I’ve done the corporate thing, and this is much better!
How do you choose the products in your store? We have a monthly staff meeting. All staff are involved, products are tasted, reviewed from a marketing perspective, shelf space, etc. If it makes the grade on all the levels then we’ll bring it in.
Voted top 40 foodies under 40 in Canada by Western Living magazine in 2008, what do you think qualified you for this? Because what we are doing is unique. We are promoting small artisan products, and culinary tourism is huge now. Part of it is the business background, passion for what we do, and hitting the market at the right time. If we’d started a year earlier, it would have been a different story.
What is your favourite product? It varies every month.
What is your current favourite lunch place? Go Fish. It’s the best seafood in Vancouver by far. They do fish tacos, grilled oyster pulled sandwhiches, scallop burgers, and fish and chips. It is outstanding!
Well, if you ask this foodie, follow Eric Pateman and his endless edibles. You can trust his products, because they are passionate about what they do – their signature is sharing other artisans’ signatures! Eric Pateman’s team is still growing and the edible journey has really just begun, they just incorporated EdibleCanada…