My Shining Star

Kelly Berthelot

July 1989 – August 2011

Beta Reader

Sous Chef

Best Friend

When you lose your best friend suddenly, sometimes you have to think of games to get yourself through the day or night. The one I’ve been playing with myself is, “What great things do I remember about Kelly?” Last night, I was not only comforted by this game, but it made me laugh and I decided to share some of the answers here. As you can see, a lot of it revolved around food. She was my cooking student for over two years.

The 3 foods Kelly always tried to get me to make for her.

  1. Egg salad
  2. Vanilla cake with butter cream frosting
  3. Fruit smoothies

The 3 things I was always trying to sneak into her food without her noticing because she didn’t like them, but I know they make food better.

  1. Black pepper
  2. Parmesan cheese
  3. Coconut

The biggest lesson Kelly learned – anything you can buy at the grocery store, you can make.

My biggest mistake – telling Kelly that anything you can buy at the grocery store, you can make. See cannoli!*

The three hardest things to teach her – taste as you go, you have to get your hands in the food, and your food is supposed to look homemade, not like it came from a factory.

The three easiest things to teach her – how to chop an onion (she was a pro!), to make granola, and how to plate food so it looks beautiful.

The three things Kelly taught me – almost every problem I have is a “First World problem”, to be easier on myself, and how to be a teacher.

The most adventurous thing we tried to make: Cannoli* from scratch filled with homemade ricotta cheese. We even made the wooden molds from doweling. The fact that Kelly ran off in the middle of this all-day project and left me with the deep frying so she could ride her horse is not forgotten, either. She was back in time to eat them though.

The first thing I taught Kelly to do in the kitchen was to grate cheese. Seriously. She thought it came in a bag already shredded. And I guess, technically, she was right, it does.

Her biggest accomplishment in the kitchen: One of the last times we cooked together, she was the head chef, and I was her sous chef. I picked the meal, showed her the recipes, and gave her a time limit of one hour for completion (twice what was recommended). An hour and two minutes later, Victor, Kelly and I sat down to mushroom ragu over polenta (I snuck the Parmesan in when she wasn’t looking), soup, and a crisp salad. It was delicious!

The first year Kelly was my student, she was an expert at getting out of the actual cooking, and just partaking in the meal. One time though, I didn’t really mind. She showed up to cook, and discovered the galley copies of my first book had arrived. Here is a picture of what she did while I cooked for the next two hours.


One of my funniest memories of Kelly is the time she stayed at our house to cat-sit Sophie & Marley. We arrived home early to find her furiously cleaning the house because she’d taken a nap instead of straightening up. She was stomping around in my Ugg boots (two sizes two big for her) and drinking tea from my teapot. I knew she was family then.

What I will miss most about you, Kelly:

Your smile.

Your appetite.

Your enthusiasm.

Your kindness.

You throwing the door open and calling into the house, “Oh, Famous Author! Famous Author! I’m sorry I’m late! Let’s cook!”


This article was written by Joelle

0 thoughts on “My Shining Star”

  1. Thanks Joelle
    I read this every year about now, it brings the pain to the surface but it also flushes it out and always brings back the sunshine smile of my Kellcat….love Stevie B

    ps the Tribute to Kelly Berthelot is another wonderful reminder of our girl

  2. Joelle,
    Thank you for sharing Kelly with those of us who didn’t have the honor of meeting her. The picture of the two of you is wonderful, and I laughed out loud at your descriptions of your relationship. I have been fascinated by your Soup Sundays and the community you’ve grown up around your kitchen. How wonderful and real Kelly is to me as I read about your friendship and who she was to you. May your memories of Kelly continue to enrich your life and bring you comfort and smiles in the years to come. Warmest of hugs. Love, Sher

  3. Joelle,

    Such beautiful memories. Kelly was a wonderful person and I’m so glad she had you as a friend. Her life wasn’t long, but it sure was deep.

    Sending love. xoxo

  4. This is such a lovely post Joelle. Kelly sounds like an amazing and wonderful person, who’ll be missed by so many.

    I’m glad you’re able to remember all the fun times


  5. Joelle,
    I’m so glad my Kellycat had you in her life-these
    thoughts and pictures are pricelees to me…
    love, the daddio

  6. Kelly RIP

    Hi Steve,

    I was wondering if you could add my website, , to
    your Gabriola Directory page on your website, under “Gabriola Island
    Entertainment & Things to do.”

    I see Joelle got her link in that section… and you know, I AM the sous
    chef at Sunday Soup, so if that counts for anything please add my link the
    next time you update your site! Haha.

    Your website comes up first on the Google search for “horseback riding
    gabriola” (mine is third) so it would be great if you actually had a link to
    horseback riding on Gabriola (I am the only certified coach on the island)!

    See you at soup! Thanks,


  7. I laughed and weeped through your post. Perfect. I also was comforted by the fact that you had made that disgustingly sweet cake for her birthday! 🙂


  8. I don’t know what I would do without my best friend. Reading this reminds me of how much she is a part of my life and I hope I don’t take her friendship for granted. The game you played, I am going to play it now. I don’t want to forget that she could be gone tomorrow. Thank you for sharing Joelle, and I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear, sweet friend.

  9. This brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful, fond, loving batch of memories of a dear young woman. I’m glad that I got to meet Kelly. Such a sweet being. Love you, dear Joelle. Take care.

  10. I can see why she was so special to you. Not everyone has a Chef Guardian Angel looking over their kitchen. Lucky you! 🙂

  11. This is such a heart-warming, beautiful tribute to your best friend! What a lovely girl she was, and what fun! I’m so glad you have found comfort in remembering all the great things you and Kelly did together.

    Love and hugs!

  12. What a remarkable woman she was, to bring such joy to others. She reminded everyone around her that life, like a good meal, is most enjoyable when you participate in it, get your hands dirty, and aren’t afraid try something a little different.

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