Together at SoBo: More Recipes and Stories from Tofino's Beloved Restaurant

Together at SoBo: More Recipes and Stories from Tofino's Beloved Restaurant

Together at SoBo: More Recipes and Stories from Tofino's Beloved Restaurant

Together at SoBo: More Recipes and Stories from Tofino's Beloved Restaurant


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One of Chatelaine's best cookbooks of 2023!

Welcome back to Tofino! In this long-awaited follow-up to the award-winning bestseller, The SoBo Cookbook, you’ll find a whole new set of recipes, dialed up in delicious, unmistakable SoBo style.

To know Tofino is to know SoBo, the restaurant at the heart of this magnetic West Coast surf town. Since opening as a purple food truck 20 years ago, SoBo (short for “sophisticated bohemian”) has been bringing people together with Chef Lisa Ahier’s fresh West Coast fare. Year after year, locals and visitors alike return for her killer cooking and the relaxed warmth that can only be found here. Bring home this new slice of SoBo to share with your loved ones.
In Together at SoBo, Chef Lisa Ahier shares all-new recipes from her beloved restaurant. Lisa’s recipes are love letters to Tofino and its position as the most westerly point of Canada. Drawing from local produce and a wealth of seafood, these are Pacific Northwest recipes enhanced by Lisa’s Southern flair.
  • Local and seasonal: recipes like the Chanterelle and Corn Chowder and the Nettle, Clam and Shrimp Tagliatelle highlight Tofino’s coastal bounty
  • Classics inspired by Lisa’s Southern childhood: reminisce with her family's Summer Ratatouille and Grilled Peach and Raspberry Melba recipes
  • Seafood standouts: embrace the ocean with the Chinook Salmon with Parsnip Puffs and the Halibut Cheeks with Celeriac Cream
  • Perennial SoBo favorites: try the beloved Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Pizza and White Bean and Chicken Chili
And, in true, community-driven SoBo spirit, throughout the book, Lisa also introduces the people around her who have shaped the restaurant into the quintessential destination it is today.
Two decades on from its purple food truck beginnings, SoBo has never lost its namesake “sophisticated bohemian” essence: down-to-earth goodness forged through a connection to the people and place—land and sea—surrounding it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525610632
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Publication date: 05/09/2023
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 8.26(w) x 10.28(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

LISA AHIER is the chef and owner of SoBo. She has lived in Missouri, Texas, and Florida but calls Tofino “home”. After working in numerous restaurants from the age of 13, she landed on the doorsteps of The Culinary Institute of America in New York’s Hyde Park at the age of 34.
SUSAN MUSGRAVE has had over 30 books published, including A Taste of Haida Gwaii. She owns and manages Haida Gwaii's Copper Beech House.
JEREMY KORESKI, born and raised Tofino, British Columbia, began taking photographs at age 13 when his father gifted him a camera.

Read an Excerpt


When I set out to write this, my second cookbook, I knew I wanted it to be a bit of a step up from my first. The SoBo Cookbook is full of tried-and-true standards—in it, you’ll find recipes for our famous tofu pockets and killer fish tacos—many going way back to when SoBo was a swinging little spot, serving out of an ’80s-era purple food truck in Tofino’s Live to Surf parking lot, where we set up in 2003.  

Our truck later moved from that surf-shop parking lot to Tofino Botanical Gardens, then finally, in 2007, we settled into a spacious, floor-to-ceiling-windowed restaurant in downtown Tofino. And now, even though the purple truck has been let out to pasture, we keep a miniature homage to it in our fancy “new” digs. Throughout all this change, our essence has remained unchanged. We haven’t lost our grassroots essence—after all, “SoBo” is short for “Sophisticated Bohemian.” In this brick-and-mortar spot that we can call our own, we still offer our signature globally influenced, gourmet-level selections that fuse Asian and Southwestern standbys with the freshest local products, with menus for all mealtimes. Here, we can serve a dinner crowd looking for a night out, making the most out of our bigger kitchen to prepare complex dishes such as Warm Asparagus, Farro and King Oyster Mushroom Salad with Poached Eggs.  

I first thought this second book might be inspired by the daily specials that show up on the SoBo chalkboard, often with a focus on product availability on any given day—we’re all about fresh food from here and there. And some of those certainly made it in (like the Chinook Salmon with Purée of Cauliflower and Parsnip Puffs), but as I began to write this book of recipes, something became overwhelmingly clear: as much as the product itself contributes to our great menu, it’s also undeniably the people surrounding me who have led to our experimental cooking style that locals and visitors alike have taken a shine to. 

To watch a young cook’s eyes light up when asked to help create a daily special is truly wonderful. Together, like a couple learning how to dance, I work with them to set our intention, usually talking about the product, the flavor profile. I urge them to draw on their own memories of food, their culture, their passion that has brought them into the culinary arts. Then the cooking starts. All while tasting and thinking about how it might change from one moment to the next. When you involve those around you in the creations, they take ownership and really sink their teeth into the task. 

Then there are the folks who have been with me since day one—whether that was day one of my moving to Tofino in 2000, or my day one on Earth.  

Many of these recipes are from my childhood growing up in and around the South (for example, Fried Chicken, Southern Style, and Grilled Peach and Raspberry Melba), which I have come to know and love through my mom. The community of friends I’ve made in Tofino have all left their touch on SoBo, whether it’s in the décor, the kitchen or the supplies and ingredients we use for these excellent recipes. Even Susan, my wondrous coauthor, was brought into my life by my circle of friends one night at SoBo.  

The restaurant’s appeal rests, in part, on the fact that we have created a culture that people want to immerse themselves in. SoBo is an extended family that people want to be a part of, whether they’re in the dining room or behind the scenes. It’s very much a product of its place: we have the cross-cultural, open-spirited air of the West Coast, and we foster a sense of belonging, for both regulars and visitors who are trying the restaurant for their first time. Therein lies one of the secrets of SoBo’s success. The sense of connection is important to us. We’ve always wanted that openness and rapport. It puts everyone on the same level—SoBo was built on a platform of down-to-earth, natural food meant to nourish the soul and warm the heart. 

SoBo’s food is unsurpassed in flavor and adventurous in its selections. We have a strict commitment to quality, and to organic and regional sourcing. We pick and choose the best ingredients and the best growers and harvesters around. That’s deceptively simple: all of it is built on long, long (did I say long?) hours of work and a truckload of passion. 

So, with this second book, I want to give a shoutout to those before, after and currently involved in my culinary journey. I want to share not only my stories but also those of people who have helped shape SoBo over the years, to show how we have come together as a like-minded community. 

Lisa Ahier 

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