Olaiya Land, Pantry at Delancey cofounder. Photo courtesy olaiyalandcatering.com.

Family-style dinners for 26, a summer-long roster of enticing classes, a trio of seasoned toques…it’s no wonder Seattleites are pumped for the Pantry at Delancey, the community kitchen opening behind the beloved Ballard pizzeria.

With the launch date fast approaching (look for it in May), we got in touch with cofounder Olaiya Land, a cooking instructor at Delancey and owner of an eponymous catering company. Here, she shares what about the Pantry has her most excited.

What made you decide to open the Pantry?

Brandon Pettit (co-owner of Delancey), Brandi Henderson (Delancey pastry chef), and I are a group of friends who work really well together. I met Brandon back when we worked at Boat Street Kitchen, and we’ve been friends since. He’s like a mad scientist when it comes to cooking; the Pantry will let us play off of each other to create new and exciting things.

What inspired the venture?

There’s a vibrant DIY scene in Seattle, and we love farmers markets. So that really influenced us along with local cheese makers, bee keepers, et cetera.

A big part of the Pantry will be cooking classes. Who do you picture attending these classes?

We’d like to reach a wide range of Seattleites. Realistically we’ll probably draw mostly from Seattle’s uber-foodies, but I’m super excited about also introducing people to cooking. We’re offering a wide variety of classes that meet different skill levels. But I think most classes will work for even a beginner cook.

What are some of the main challenges of catering versus working at a restaurant?

With catering, you have to be very flexible. Since you’re cooking in a new kitchen each time, you don’t know what to expect. It can be stressful, especially huge events like weddings. But it’s also very exciting.

In addition to cooking classes and catering services, the Pantry will host family-style dinners. How many people can fit at these events?

We’ll have a dinner table that’s 16 feet long, and we hope to eventually be able to host up to 26 people at each dinner.

What excites you most about the Pantry?

We want to host community events, which I’m looking forward to. Basically we would host someone like a farmers market vendor for a talk and cocktails. I think we’ll be able to fit about 35 people at those. I’m probably most excited, though, about getting people to cook and realizing it’s not difficult. I want to empower them and get them cooking for their friends and family.

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