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Cookbook Store mixes it up with new kitchen studio

Alison Fryer, owner of Toronto’s Cookbook Store, has found an inventive way to stir things up by adding a kitchen studio to her shop.

Home-renovation contractors Rosemill Development built a street-level showroom behind the store, which can be accessed via the Cookbook Store’s back office. The coolly modern kitchen, featuring an island counter, two deep sinks, a hidden refrigerator, and an induction cooktop, is available for use after-hours, or as a rental when needed.

Fryer, who says a studio has been a dream since the store opened in 1983, wants to use the space for author and media events, cooking classes, and a new book club she is starting up in January. We’ll try everything and see what sticks, she says. “You’re always having to reinvent yourself in this business.”

In October, the kitchen got a workout when the store hosted El Bulli Imitació, local cook Matt Kantor’s 22-course homage to Spanish chef Ferran Adrià. Diners, who sat at tables in the store, watched their food being prepared on a television hooked up to a camera in the kitchen.

Upcoming Cookbook Store events include a cheese tasting on Nov. 29 with U.K. expert Juliet Harbutt, author of World Cheese Book, and a cookie decorating demonstration on Dec. 5 with Anna Olson, who just released the 356-page tome Back to Baking (Whitecap).