Schell: Common kitchen for all to use

The fully equipped, approved commercial kitchen can be rented by anyone needing a kitchen space…

  • Mar. 6, 2014 1:00 p.m.

A really cool new business just opened up in the SOPA (South Pandosy) neighbourhood called Saj Common Kitchen.

The common part refers to the fact that the fully equipped, approved commercial kitchen can be rented by anyone needing a kitchen space to create his or her products, prepare food or hold an event.

Targeting the likes of Farmers Market food vendors, event and corporate caterers, teachers needing a space to hold cooking classes, chef trainers and food artisans, this venue will be a dream come true to many. The kitchen is equipped with commercial ranges and ovens, a convection oven, char broiler, walk in refrigeration, freezer, mixers, permanent storage, portable stainless tables, large stainless island and counter space, plenty of shelving, some small wares, rolling racks, 24 baking sheets and seating for 20.

Owner Betty Cherkaoui, both a caterer and cooking teacher, was inspired to create this space for people just like her who had struggled in the past to find a commercial kitchen to create their magic.

Space is available on a first come basis by calling Betty at 250-864-3491 or visiting

Betty is a fabulous caterer specializing in Lebanese cuisine and also offers cooking classes. Check out her website for upcoming class info or to book a catering event:

I have been experimenting in my own kitchen lately, trying to find the ultimate, healthy but tasty muffin.  Thanks to a base recipe for banana, honey muffins shared by my fabulous Facebook friend, Calgary-based cookbook author Julie Van Rosendaal, I know have a delicious, healthy winner.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is super versatile. I have varied my measurements of chopped apples, blueberries, chopped dates, chopped dried apricots, shredded coconut and varied the amount of chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp hearts. I have also used pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and sunflower seeds on top—no matter what, every version is delicious, just stick to the basic measurements.

Julie’s trick of using three bananas is the key—it not only makes them healthier, it keeps them moist too. Julie added honey to her recipe but I find them sweet enough on their own. Enjoy.

Banana LOVE Muffins

Wet ingredients:

In a large bowl, mash 3 very ripe bananas with 1/8 cup canola oil, 1 large egg and 1 tsp vanilla.

Dry Ingredients:

Add 1 1/2 cups Anita’s organic sprouted spelt flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt. Plus some or all of the following:

1/2 cup shredded fancy coconut

3-4 tbsp Chia seeds

2 tbsp hemp hearts

2 tbsp tsp flax seed


chopped dates


dried apricots

chopped apples (I like Ambrosias because they keep their crunch)

Divide between eight paper-lined large muffin cups (probably 10 smaller ones) poking 4-5 blueberries and/or and a couple of pieces of dates or apples or apricots into them. Top with pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds or sunflower seeds (optional).

Bake at 375 F for 22 minutes.

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