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Brandie Kajino

This was a difficult episode of Innovators of Vancouver to make because after the principal photography was finished, Brandie let me know she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The dilemma I had was whether to focus on the original idea of following a food writer and all-around wonderful human as she embarked on her food journey or make the video about the diagnosis. I chose to not mention anything about cancer and instead focused on her passion for food.

Brandie passed away from pancreatic cancer on November 1, 2016. Here is what I wrote about her when I found out she was gone:

I never quite know how to start a post such as this one. I found out today that a dear friend, Brandie Kajino, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.

On December 2, 2015, I released a video featuring Brandie sharing her passion for food. She not only spent time cooking for me, but spent hours talking about her passion for life beginning at the table. She shared stories about her favorite dish that she ate, something to do with mushrooms, and how she tried to recreate the dish on taste alone. She shared stories about canning as a child. She shared stories about her family and friends and the way she cared for them by preparing and sharing meals. Even though the finished video was five minutes in length, I had hours of footage to wade through. Beautiful stories. But what was the story to tell? What to include and what to leave out? I am proud of the story that was told because it was Brandie. It was her story. It was her passion. This is how I will remember her.

She encouraged me by showing me a way to live. She had a business that she sold because it wasn’t her passion anymore and instead created a blog about food and community. That was inspirational. Even more, I remember asking what her title should be for the video: “Should it be blogger or food writer?” Food writer it ended up being because she was serious. Blogger didn’t quite have the ring of respect that food writer did. That is why this video calls her a food writer. It was her passion. It was who she was.

She was patient. I originally filmed the footage for this documentary in July 2014. Almost a year and half between production and release. I ended up delaying initially for personal reasons. I was struggling with whether the video was good enough. Not because of anything she did or said, but because of my own insecurities. Then I learned in early 2015 that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At that moment, I had a dilemma. Do I include that in the video or do I make the video about her and her passion before the cancer diagnosis? I chose to make the video about her and her passion. I am proud that I made that decision.

At several moments while she battled cancer, she would occasionally send me messages thanking me for the video. Even in the dark moments, she couldn’t believed that the video captured her spirit and served as a reminder for who she was. Even in the grip of sickness, she was still Brandie.

I share these stories not for me, but for all of us who knew Brandie. For those who only know Brandie through the video, may you be inspired to live your life to the fullest without any regrets.

Thank you Brandie for all of the ways you impacted my life and my work. Thank you for your friendship. And thank you for naming my podcast. Most importantly, thank you for the ways your smile lit up the room when you took the most unbelievable bite of food. I will never forget that.

I hope you enjoy this memory of Brandie. She was amazing, made great food, and always got me laughing and feeling great about the world.

 

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Innovators of Vancouver (Personal Project)


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