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Meet Pascale Beale of Pascale’s Kitchen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pascale Beale.

Pascale, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in England and France surrounded by a family that has always been passionate (read obsessed) about food, wine, and the arts. I was taught to cook by my French mother and grandmother, who both instilled in me the discipline to strive for one’s best and to follow through with one’s commitments.

Gathering friends, family, and colleagues around the dinner table has always been an integral part of my life, and after 15 years working in the property and financial markets in Los Angeles, I decided to leave the property business and focus on my first passion, cooking. Pascale’s Kitchen started as a small private label, making handmade culinary gifts. When I moved my base to Santa Barbara in the late 1990s and looking to expand not just the product line but my whole operation, I strove to create a more complete culinary experience that captured the essence of Mediterranean cooking, inspired by the incredible seasonal produce I found here in Southern California. I debated opening a small Chez Panisse style restaurant but decided instead to open a small cooking school, featuring an ever-changing menu. Pascale’s Kitchen has now been open for 21 years and every class has featured new recipes. Teaching and continually developing new dishes led to food writing. Over the past 16 years, I have written nine cookbooks, hundreds of articles for local newspapers, food magazines, and have been a columnist for the James Beard award-winning publication, Edible Santa Barbara since 2009.

Pascale’s Kitchen now offers everything from intimate hands-on classes to large corporate events and team-building activities. With the outbreak of Covid-19, we developed a new platform on Zoom offering virtual interactive cooking classes and launched an IGTV cooking channel on Instagram.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being a small business owner is rarely a smooth road, and as with all such businesses have experienced many ups and downs, from surviving earthquakes to suddenly having to find suitable kitchens to teach in, to losing business partners and weathering economic downturns, too, most notably navigating the aftermath of the local fires and mudflows that devastated our local community in 2018.

We have had to become resilient and learn how to reinvent ourselves. The current pandemic has been particularly challenging for my company as not only was the book tour for my new book Salade II canceled, but all interactive classes and events have been on hold since early March. This has been a trying time for the entire hospitality industry, and as with so many companies I am looking for ways to have Pascale’s Kitchen remain relevant and to be of service to my customers and to the community.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Pascale’s Kitchen is a multifaceted business, from online store featuring our signature line of custom-blended herbs and spices, oils and vinegars, as well as cookbook, kitchen, and tableware, to cooking school providing everything from intimate in person (hands-on and virtual) classes focusing on Mediterranean style cooking, to large corporate and team building events. We also have a video library of cooking classes on our YouTube and Instagram Channels.

One of the unusual features about Pascale’s Kitchen is that we never repeat a menu. Over the past 21 years every cooking class has featured a unique three course meal. This keeps customers interested in learning new techniques and discovering new dishes and keeps my creative juices flowing. Planning a series of cooking classes is one of the tasks I enjoy the most. I am now developing a series of classes to teach virtually through online platforms such as zoom. My goal is to inspire people to eat seasonally, healthy, nutritious food, that is not complicated to make. It has been a pleasure to still be able to gather people together around the table, cook, and taste the same food together, even though we are in multiple time zones and many states away from one another. Despite the distance, we can still commune together.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
This question is impacted by Covid-19. I think there will be major changes in the hospitality/food industry as a result of the rules and regulations imposed by the state on how we conduct business for at least the next 6-12 months.

Prior to the pandemic, I would have said that there is a growing trend toward people preferring experiences rather than acquiring things. Coming to a cooking class, and learning about a different type of cuisine, and about different food cultures is a popular activity. However, I would strongly caution someone over the start-up costs of owning a brick and mortar business. If possible, it would be better to start this as a pop-up. Rents (in LA and Santa Barbara) are so high that it makes starting a cooking school challenging.

Pricing:

  • Zoom Cooking Classes $10-$20 per link/device (special pricing for large group events)
  • Pascale’s Kitchen Herbs and Spices $8-$13, Oils and Vinegars from $15
  • Salade, Vegetable and Fruit Cookbooks $29.95
  • Salad Bowls from $21

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Pascale Beale

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