"I love hosting people and feeding people - it's my passion. I was always making hummus as a way to bring people together. People loved it and would tell me to sell it. So I made an amateur brand and was selling it as a hobby when I met Itamar's wife, Jordana and we all started traveling together as a group, going to new cities and to music festivals together.
I think my way of life - I had dreadlocks and loved music festivals and all that - kind of rubbed off on Itamar, and Itamar was a very polo shirt and business guy, which rubbed off on me. So we kind of merged at that time and created Chickpea."
Itamar, co-founder of Chickpea
"I grew up in a small village in Israel and I didn't have the best relationship with my parents. I grew up very religious and I didn't want to be religious, so I left and I had to grow up alone. From a very young age, I was milling my own flour and making my own tofu and almond milk, sort of fending for myself.
I joined the army and traveled, and afterward studied for 3 to 4 years to become an accountant and a lawyer. Then when I met my wife Jordana, my life changed completely. Everything I believed and thought started to shake completely. I quit my studies and we moved together to Vancouver.
I started getting into business and I was good at it! I was managing a store and had the chance to open another one, but around that time, something flipped in me again. I just thought, 'This is not who I am. This is not what I want to do.'
So I became a private caregiver for a 53-year-old man who was dying from MS. I was with him every day for 8 months and we would go out to a lot of restaurants. Throughout that process, especially as he was dying, my perspective about life began to change again.
He had such a big passion for food and when he died, I wanted to use that to begin working with my hands again, learning to build things from wood, stone and metal. Then I met Rotem and he was talking about opening a restaurant of some sort, which was when everything clicked. I realized that from a young age, this is who I am and who I'm meant to be. I'm a person who loves to cook food. I'm a chef. I define myself as a chef.'
What We Love Most About Vancouver
"It's beautiful here. You have the mountains, the beach, and the air is so fresh. Vancouver is such a new city, so there's no established religion or ethnicity and it means that the culture here is always changing because the city is so new.
It's not a one-minded city, and there's no judgment - people are smiling and there's no set of norms that everyone has to follow. Instead, everyone has their own space and the vibe is very open, very accepting."