COVID19 has affected every single person, but for some, it helped them get creative. Air North expanded their Flight Kitchen productions and Grande Naturals was born. Continue reading to see how these two amazing companies coped and even flourished during this ongoing pandemic.
Air North’s Flight Kitchen
Not only the Yukon’s Airline, Air North creates some very delicious food! The items are prepared by Chef Michael Bock and his Flight Kitchen team right here in Whitehorse. The food is so good that you can get it without needing to take a flight- forget the misconception that all airplane food is gross! With an impressive menu of delicious food made with fresh quality ingredients for breakfast, lunch/dinner and dessert, Air North has you covered with their home delivery meal service and their retail grocery store meals. In 2016, the Flight Kitchen began selling their cheesecakes, bison shepherd’s pie and chicken and vegetarian curries at Wykes’ Your Independent Grocer (WYIG). Since its beginning, the Flight Kitchen has expanded its production to include a wider variety of meals and desserts, while they continue to offer catering services. Their home delivery meal service began as a response to COVID19. You can choose from a variety of pre-packaged-individually-portioned-frozen-meals to be delivered right to your door and they even include some of their famous fresh chocolate chip cookies. Surprise! Their retail grocery store line of cakes and family-sized meals can still be found at WYIG as well as Bigway and Super A (Riverdale and Porter Creek locations). Before COVID hit, the Flight Kitchen was offering tours of their kitchen, complete with their famous Air North chocolate chip cookies. When it is safe to do so, they hope to resume their tours. For the past couple of years, they have partnered with Run for Mom (located in Whitehorse) to create a specialty strawberry white chocolate cheesecake for Mother’s Day. For every purchase of the cake, Air North donates $3.00 to help support the Run for Mom’s efforts and WYIG has matched the donation. This year Air North, WYIG and Big Way will all be taking part in the fundraiser! When I asked Chef Michael Bock about his production, he replied “Since we began with an idea as simple as selling our cheesecakes at a local grocery store, we would never have imagined it would have grown to where it is today. We have built a loyal customer base and have received a lot of very positive feedback. As flight catering has been reduced due to the pandemic, having the retail store experience before the pandemic gave us the knowledge that was a prerequisite to starting up our second business venture.” When I asked him what he finds himself munching most often, he said “My personal favourite is our Spring Rolls created by Uma Chutiwong. They take a lot of testing to make sure there always is the right amount of seasoning, sometimes we need to repeat this process a couple of times.” For myself, I love their Lobster Mac and Cheese and the Indian Curried Tofu and Vegetables is scrumptious! For more information, please see their website: Flight Kitchen
What began due to an extended March break due to COVID-19 in 2020, then eleven-year-old Nico began making dog treats for his beloved dog, Moka. Moka’s family wanted a healthy treat for her, so they started baking dog treats using top-quality natural ingredients. Now, the treats aren’t only for Moka- you too can treat your canine companion to homemade dog biscuits made by Grande Naturals. You can find them at the Fireweed Community Market and the Twelve Days of Christmas Market, during their respected timeframes. Need some treats outside of the market seasons? You can find their natural dog treats, in the bulk bins in both the Feed Store/Pet Junction and Riverside Grocery. Right now, they create four flavours for your furry companion: Yukon Beef/Cheddar (using beef from Circle D Ranch), Chicken/Bacon, Wild Pacific Salmon/Organic Sweet Potato and Organic Pumpkin/Peanut Butter. Using honey and apple cider vinegar as natural preservatives and often organic eggs purchased locally in Mayo, your pup is sure to enjoy them and so are you. Knowing what my pet is ingesting is a big deal to me and I love being able to actually read and understand the ingredients she eats. Using some local producers for their cookies, Grande Naturals also does custom batches where the customers can choose the ingredients for their own dog treats. This summer, they have plans of adding a Bison/Blueberry treat to their mix and a Turkey/Cranberry with rice flour for Christmastime- all while Nico continues to go to school! Each treat is rolled out and cut by hand. Lots of love goes into each batch and Grande Naturals donates 2% of their total sales to Yukon Animal Rescue Network (YARN) based in Watson Lake- the rescue Moka came from. When I asked what the best part of production is, they said “Transforming local ingredients into yummy dog treats, knowing that our customers can feed them with full confidence in the ingredients, seeing dogs at the market go crazy for our treats and giving back to the local dog community through YARN.” Moka does not have a favourite treat. She’s a lucky girl and gets to eat the pieces that don’t turn out perfectly and the left-over ends. Amy, my dog, doesn’t have a favourite either. She will wolf down any of them! What a ruff life Moka, Amy and the many other Yukon dogs that love Grande Natural treats live! For more information, please see their website: Grande Naturals
Both of these companies use fresh quality ingredients that you can feel good about eating or sharing with your furry pal. When Amy won the Ice-olation Rendezvous photo contest, her prize included some treats from Grande Naturals. During the markets, we often pick up some snacks for her too. Tonight, my latest order of the Flight Kitchen’s home delivery meals will be delivered- I guess I know what I’m having for dinner! Supporting local is just so easy here and it makes your heart full knowing that these local businesses also give back to their community. The Yukon rocks!
Hero Picture- Amy enjoying a Grande Natural treat. Photo taken by me