Tom and Emilie Looijschelder, owners
Photography - HIRO
“I hope that everybody is going to be very Snackish!”
What has become of a sand drawing on the beach is a thriving sausage business.
When Tom and Emilie took a trip to Tofino in June 2020, the business idea suddenly struck as Emilie, without thinking much of her action, was playing with a sick and she drew a sausage in the sand. Why not make great sausages? Not only Snackish has such a unique beginning but it also tells an inspiring story of how many people were driven to hustle and get creative by the pandemic.
Tom, originally from Holland, decided to see the world before setting his career path after he finished his Bachelor Degree in Food Science and Innovation at Dutch university. Emilie is from French-Canadian family in Montreal, and their paths fatefully crossed in Bali while they were both traveling separately. Tom moved to Montreal where Emilie was after the travel was over. Love of food was already in his blood since his parents ran a super market in a small village in Holland as well as a craft butchery on the side. Naturally, he started to work in the butchery in Montreal. While being a butcher, he would hustle with a side catering business making Dutch lunch meal for Montrealers: mushed potatoes, vegetables and meat accompanied with homemade iced tea was a hit during the summer.
It was just before pandemic, in September 2019, when Emilie was relocated to BC by her company and the two embarked on a new chapter on the West Coast without knowing what the world would face in coming months – the Covid pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, they hold on to their regular jobs: Tom as a butcher and store manager at Sebastian & Co Fine Meats and Emilie still with her long time employer.
So why did they decide to hustle even more in the middle of the pandemic with this new sausage project? That’s because they are so passionate about food! They deeply missed a big food hosting and Oktoberfest type of culture in their family and where they are from. The idea was to offer something more than just classic sausages, rather something more fun and creative, when a lot of people were staying home and eating at home.
It literally started from selling a pack of sausages a week to more packs of sausages a week. Building a small community around sausages with customers and other local small businesses has had an overwhelming effect. Now it comes to a point where they needed to open a new online shop to keep up with the demand. It is no secret why Snackish Sausages has gained such popularity after you meet this lovely couple and eating their funky sausages.
VOICE(V) : “First of all, what does Snackish mean?”
Emilie(E) : “The name Snackish comes from Tom being snackish. He loves snacking at night and I would often joke that when he dies, I would write a memorial saying ‘Tom was very snackish man’. It also holds a philosophy of what we like to do with Snackish in the future. Eventually we like to offer not only sausages but tasty snacks as well.”
V: “What is special about Snackish Sausages?”
E: “Besides being creative and delicious, we always follow a motto: ‘eat less meat but eat better meat’. That’s how we see our company. We don’t encourage people to eat sausages everyday, but when you eat sausages we want to make sure that you eat really good ones. That is why we don’t want to put anything unpronounceable in our sausages. All ingredients people would know what they are. We always use local meats without antibiotics or hormones. We use all natural and much local ingredients as possible. Our casing is also all natural. During summer, we often spend time looking for fresh, seasonal local produce at farmers markets. There is no shortcuts or hidden ingredients when making good sausages.”
V: “How do you find your sausages as creative?”
Tom(T): “I studied to be a food engineer so I have a lot of ideas when it comes to creating flavours. I want flavours to be bit more fun and our best selling Mac & Cheese sausage is just that. Our menu is often seasonal and surprising and we like to integrate a meal in a sausage like Pumpkin Spice Latte, French Onion Soup, Risotto, and Spinach, Parmesan & Garlic Confit.”
E: “We always rotate the menu and work with the season. Tom is very very creative as a sausage chef. One time, even before Snackish, he made Egg Benedict sausages with pork, Hollandaise sauce, ham, scrambled eggs, toasted garlic and parsley. It tasted like a breakfast in one bite!”
V: “What was it like starting a business from a scratch in a new place?”
E: “When we moved from Montreal, we settled in the North Shore and we didn’t know anybody here. One day we walked in to have craft sandwiches at Meat at O’Niells in Lower Lonsdale and we had a pleasure of meeting the owner Martin. He really helped us in the begging of our business. He is Irish, and on St. Patrick Day he asked us to do a special collaboration with him. We made sausages with Guinness, cabbage, and ham hock to go with his traditional Dublin Coddle dish. It was our very first opportunity to collaborate with the local community business and it opened more opportunities after that. Now we do several collaborations with other North Shore businesses like Bamba Vodka for our Bloody Caesar sausage and Black Kettle Brewing for our Black Kettle Pale Ale, Cabbage & Bacon sausage. We love their Pale Ale so much, we just had to put into our sausage! It has made to their brewery food menu as well. We love being involved in the community this way.”
V: “How do you manage with your regular jobs?”
T: “I feel very lucky that Sebastian & Co is giving me a lot of freedom for my side business. I already have a space to work and everything I need at the butchery.”
E: “I stay away from the kitchen so I do most of administrative work for the business. It gives me so much energy to be part of something creative out of my regular office job. Snackish is taking most of our free time!”
V: “Adding on to the variety of menu, what do you think the next flavour should be?”
T: “I really want the ramen sausage with miso!”
So Tom has done it! Japanese meal inspired Miso Ramen sausage with pork, egg noodles, mushroom, white miso, garlic, s&p is now available to purchase online.
V: “What is your favorite flavour so far?”
T: “I like everything but if I have to choose one, it would be Risotto. Very creamy and rich. I don’t like cilantro so that’s the only thing you won’t see in our sausages.”
E: “Right now, out of the current menu, I really like Pumpkin Spice Latte. I love nutmeg and cinnamon.”
V: “What does food mean to you?”
E: “We plan our vacations according to what restaurants and what food we want to take.That’s how much we love food. It is also a way of showing love to people. We love having people over and make a big meal for everyone to share.”
V: “Any tips on how to enjoy your sausages?”
E: “My favorite way to eat sausages is to put a bunch of different flavours together, cut them in small pieces, serve them on the big plate in the middle of the table, and let everybody enjoy like a finger food with a glass of beer or wine in hands. Sausages are meant to be shared with family and friends.”
VOICE Community: Meat at O`’Niells , Black Kettle Brewing