Rock Cod Cafe reopens under new owners

Business Notes: News and notes from Cowichan’s business community

Tami Hill and her son Dallas are the new owners of Cowichan Bay’s Rock Cod Café. (Facebook photo)

Tami Hill and her son Dallas are the new owners of Cowichan Bay’s Rock Cod Café. (Facebook photo)

Cowichan Bay’s Rock Cod Café reopened on April 1 with new owners.

Tami Hill, who had worked at the restaurant for 11 years before it closed last December, and her son Dallas have taken over the reigns of the business.

Hill said she had worked in many capacities in the restaurant over the years including six years as manager, and had put her heart and soul into it and spent many of her days off redecorating the cafe and sanding down the tables and chairs to help improve its ambiance.

“I haven’t taken a holiday in 11 years and now that my kids are grown, I want to devote myself even more to the business,” she said as she prepared for opening day.

“I will be the owner/manager handling the hands-on issues and Dallas, who will be the brains of the operation, will be in charge of the office. We’re bringing back all the original staff, except for two who moved on to other jobs. They are the most instrumental part of the business and have always been helpful and supportive.”

In December, former owner Jacob Hokanson said he shut down the restaurant, which had been in operation for 15 years, because he simply couldn’t afford to stay open.

Hill said she and Dallas hope to save money where Hokanson didn’t.

“We have a number of ideas, like shopping more locally and having our own washer and dryer to save money on laundry costs,” she said.

“We’re already getting great support from the community, so we’re confident we’ll succeed.”


For the third year Vancouver Island’s Blue Grouse Estate Winery will be raising funds for Nourish Cowichan Society.

During April, which is BC Wine Month, $1 of every bottle of Blue Grouse or Quill wines sold will go to Nourish Cowichan to help feed children in need in the Cowichan Valley.

Added to this, $1 from every bottle sold will be matched by the Brunner family, owners of the winery.

“It might be hard to believe, but the Cowichan Valley is one of B.C.’s regions with the highest child poverty rate, at a whopping 30 per cent,” a statement from the winery said.

“The team at Nourish Cowichan prepares hampers and gives food to families that are going through financial insecurity. We need your help to reach our goal of $25,000 in donations this year.”

For more information, check out


A new Indian restaurant is opening in the Cowichan Valley.

Spicecraft- Flavours of India is expected to open in April at 855 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Road for take out only at first, with plans to provide upscale dining when the time is appropriate.

The restaurant’s website said Chef Bhom Singh Inda, who has more than 13 years of experience and a culinary diploma from the Institute of Hotel Management in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, has been serving both quality interpretations of classic dishes and daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of food for his whole career.

“He has an exceptional record of service and international experience at noted establishments such as The Gateway Hotel Jodhpur, Marriott International and Tree of Life Resorts & Spa, formulating quite an extensive expertise in food and beverage operations,” the website said.

“Chef and his young family are delighted to be part of the Shawnigan and Mill Bay communities and look forward to serving delicious meals for generations to come.”


Becky Hayton is the new communications and member relations manager at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce

Hayton is new to the Cowichan Valley, having just recently moved with her family from Alberta.

She has an extensive background in marketing and communications, most recently with the Red Deer Hospice Society and the City of Red Deer.

“We are pleased to support Becky’s journey to complete a Master of Arts – Professional Communications from Royal Roads University,” a statement from the chamber said.

“Please join us in welcoming Becky and introducing your business or organization at her email at

Hayton is replacing Carly Fetherstonhaugh who left the chamber at the end of March to start a new job at a Victoria-based tech company.


In other chamber employment news, Sandy Ferrin, the chamber’s member relations coordinator, is leaving the chamber to pursue a full-time opportunity.

Sonja Nagel, the chamber’s executive director, said the business organization is now looking to hire a dynamic individual to join its team to assist with servicing its growing membership.

This is a flexible, part-time position which is currently three days a week.

“The ideal candidate will have superb organizational and communication skills with a demonstrated ability to multi-task,” Nagel said.

“The member relations coordinator is passionate about people and servicing the needs of both current and future members. The coordinator will be responsible for helping the chamber achieve membership sales and retention strategies and targets; working within the membership database; working with benefit providers, and assisting with events. Do you know someone who might be interested? Please connect with me at for more details.”


Saison Market on Mays Road will stay closed.

In a statement on Facebook, owners Ingrid Lehwald and Frédéric Desbiens said the market has had a good run and it was a lot of fun to operate, but Saison won’t be reopening again

The owners said that for 11 seasons, Saison Market provided a place for locals to enjoy homemade breakfast, lunch and an assortment of sweet and savoury sweets.

But they said the last two years forced them to re-evaluate the business and they have decided to shift their attention to full-time farming instead.

“While we will likely continue to offer a small selection of baked goods and garden-fresh produce at our Roadside Farmstand on select weekends, the cafe will remain closed,” Lehwald and Desbiens said.

“We are fortunate for the opportunity to meet and befriend so many people in the Valley. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to our customers for all the wonderful support over the years and to the dedicated and hardworking staff that helped make it all happen. We will remain forever grateful.”

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