Behind every meal at Coho is an entrepreneur with a story as unique as the food they make.
Meet Pastaggio - Daniel Jafari and Rebecca Lee Andersen’s homage to Italian food, their community, and their past. They proudly make bronze die extruded and laminated fresh pasta using the highest quality of local ingredients whenever possible.
Dan, a talented chef, who humbly refuses to be called a chef, and Rebecca, a client development director for live events, both worked in industries hit extremely hard during the pandemic.
Although Pastaggio was born from a COVID pilot, the couple believes the community is essential and wants to provide their neighbors with home-cooked, comforting meals, especially during times of uncertainty.
In August 2022, from our East Vancouver commissary, our content producer Taeyoung Chang spent some time with Dan while he prepared for a busy weekend of farmer markets.
8:00 am We arrive through the commissary back doors on East Georgia Street, and Dan essentially decompresses his station. Every night, and every morning, he consolidates his business into his dedicated 10x10 station organizing his equipment, tools and workspace.
8:15 am Once his station is ready, he washes his hands and puts on his apron. Dan pulls his sourdough starter from the fridge to gently activate from the radiant heat of Coho’s hotline.
Although he hasn’t named his starter like our friends at Tall Shadow have (click here if you’re curious about Eustice the sourdough starter), this is the first step in the hours-long process of creating his iconic focaccia.
He also fills a “small” pot, comparatively to the gallons he would typically make, with milk for a bechamel.
8:30 a.m-ish Normally Pastaggio prepares two out of four sauces weekly in bulk. Depending on the next day's events, prep could also consist of doughs for freshly made pasta for the market; baking and portioning lasagna; proofing and baking focaccia; or pickling and preserving seasonal vegetables.
Orders start to arrive from various farms and vendors: kale, onions, carrots, celery, flour, etc. Humble, but foundational ingredients for most, if not all, of Pastaggio’s products.
This day was less about pasta and devoted to preparing enough ingredients to make gallons of bolognese, cream of mushroom, tomato sauce and meatballs.
9:30 a.m Self-admittedly, Dan is not the best at writing the neatest of prep lists, but his staff understands what needs to get done.
Campbell arrives and reorganizes Dan’s organizing and gets ready to label packages for wholesale orders. While the two debrief on the prep list, Jose comes to the party to reorganize Campbell's organizing and joins the conversation.
As straightforward as a bolognese, focaccia or lasagna may seem, every single one of Pastaggio’s products is prepared in stages of insane detail.
10:00 a.m Jose checks on the milk from earlier for his bechamel and begins gathering ingredients to layer the 11 sheets of kale-tinted pasta for lasagna. Campbell heads back over to the hotline, to check on the starter.
Dan starts processing fifty-pound bags of produce and begins peeling and cutting mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery).
10:30 a.m Jose is busy preparing the smaller portion of lasagna for sample orders to potential wholesale clients.
Campbell is labeling, ensuring there is a stockpile of packages ready to fill in two day’s time with the sauces they’re preparing today. Dan is peeling onions and debating the logistics of a tiramisu recipe for future markets.
11:00 a.m Dan begins his TedTalk on humidity and pasta. A painstaking process he and his team have dialed in as best they can, to “perfect” different doughs for laminating and extrusion.
12:30 p.m Lasagna has been baked and is being chilled before portioning. Focaccia dough is being mixed to rest to bake for later in the evening and tomorrow. It’s all hands on deck: peeling, chopping and processing vegetables before starting another four to five hours of dedicated sauce making.
Although nothing can prepare anyone for starting a business during a pandemic, what keeps Pastaggio going are the connections they're able to make with their customers and community.
You can find them at most farmers markets and retail stores across B.C. or online through pre-orders that can be picked up every Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Coho Strathcona.
If you care enough to consider the humidity before hang drying your pasta, or want to join a community who does, Coho is expanding outside of Vancouver to include Victoria, Richmond and the Sunshine Coast.
Click the link to view all of the new and existing commissary locations and apply today!