Woodfire Restaurant, located in Gabriola’s Village core, offers more than great pizza and grill. The cozy venue is an integral community establishment for celebration and connection and a favourite for hungry visitors to the Island. Owners, Chris and Sharon Hooton, are responsible for creating this inspired menu and atmosphere and for the creative evolution of their Woodfire brand. Since the restaurant opened its doors, this dynamic duo has expanded their business to include catering services; Woodfire Spice, a take-home spice line; and The Fire Truck Grill, a popular seasonal food truck.
Woodfire at Home
By popular demand, Chris and Sharon launched Woodfire Spice in 2017. The business owners were consistently receiving questions about their West Coast and Mediterranean-inspired flavours and realized that creating a take-home spice line would allow people to more easily infuse their home cooking with tastes they were enjoying at the restaurant.
The Hootons source their inspiration from special memories and connections with family, friends, and community that have centred around food:
“Food is central to people’s lives. It is what we build memories around and is a crucial part of our social connections,” says Sharon.
For these owners, Woodfire Spice allows them to create these opportunities for connection beyond their dining room and inspire people to get creative at home. “Gourmet doesn’t have to be complicated!” says Chef Hooton.
Spice, Salt & Sugar Blends
Woodfire Spice originally launched with six popular spice blends in reusable tins:
- Gulf Island Lemon Pepper,
- Pacific Cioppino,
- Coffee Chilli Cocoa,
- Island Spice Blend,
- West Coast Searing, and
- All Year Long Apple Pie.
Following positive uptake in the community and beyond, they’ve since added
- Salish Sea Salmon,
- Rain Coast Wild Mushroom,
- Gaviola Garlic & Herb, as well as
- Smoked Alder Salt,
- Smoked Rosemary Salt and
- Maple Sugar.
These chef-inspired, hand-blended flavours of Woodfire are available at the restaurant and at select retail locations across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. You’ll even find them at YVR, Vancouver’s International airport!
Having successfully navigated the restaurant business in a pandemic, these entrepreneurs turned their attention to a creative rebrand that incorporates their cheeky British wit and helps them to land on even more spice racks further afield. The Gabriola Chamber of Commerce wishes to support the success of Woodfire Spice’s rebrand and congratulate Chris and Sharon on their various accomplishments, including their 2021 Chamber Business of the Year award. We’re grateful for the passion, expertise and delicious food these business owners bring to our small island! When Woodfire Spice lands in grocery stores and gift shops, it’s often as a result of recommendations and support from community members.
Follow Woodfire Spice on Facebook and Instagram and learn more about Woodfire Restaurant & Catering, The Fire Truck Grill and Woodfire Spice on their website here.
Photos by local photographer, Jenn Knight.