Kale & Nori Wins Producer/Supplier of the Year 2013

She’s a bartender/sommelier, he’s a chef, and with 31 years’ experience between them, Lauren Mote (The Refinery, Lumière) and Jonathan Chovancek (Sooke Harbour House, Culinary Capers) have built a partnership that’s as sweet as their products are bitter. Bitters-those concentrated extracts, taken from herbs or fruits and traditionally used in alcoholic beverages-attracted their attention because of a shared predilection for distinctive flavours and natural ingredients. Three years in, their Bittered Sling line of extracts (Kale & Nori also caters) works not just in the glass but on the plate, too. The tasty tinctures seem to go with everything. Chovancek makes a powerful cured steelhead trout with their Orange & Juniper lending a sweet and floral zest, and Mote recommends the Plum & Rootbeer for evoking childhood memories of ice cream floats. The couple say they try to go beyond the expected, developing a range of styles wide enough to bridge the gap between bar and kitchen. Campagnolo chef Robert Belcham celebrates their hands-on approach, from peeling oranges to toasting spices-“No one else is doing this.” Mote attributes their success to understanding how flavours work together: “We’re tasting-note junkies. For us, taking apart flavours is like taking apart a perfectly good car engine.”