Our Story

Our Story

In 1975, at a weekend getaway, a group of friends had an idea: since a consistent highlight of their decade-old bridge group was the food they prepared and enjoyed together, perhaps they should think about writing a cookbook. This spur-of-the-moment notion was the impetus for The Best of Bridge, which went on to become one of the most successful brands in Canadian publishing.

From the outset, “The Ladies of the Best of Bridge,” as they like to be known, had an unconventional vision of how their business would be run. It would be a partnership of equals, a celebration of friendship and perhaps most of all it would be fun. The bank manager who approved their first loan warned them they would never stay friends. They vowed to prove him wrong.


More than 40 years and 4 million copies later, the Ladies are enjoying the last laugh. In addition to creating a phenomenally successful business, they have remained close friends with fond memories of all the good times they’ve shared. “We had a lot of fun,” they say now. “And the media loved us because we were just regular mothers who showed up wearing our matching aprons. Sometimes people seemed astonished that the recipes actually worked, which amazed us because we knew what we were doing.”

Not surprisingly, from time to time, life intervened to rock their idyll. “Like a large family, we’ve experienced everything, from divorce, major illnesses and deaths,” they comment. Not only have they lost parents, husbands and children, four of the partners are deceased.

But the brand lives on not only in kitchens, but also in the hearts and minds of Canadians from coast to coast. Best of Bridge recipes are staples at potlucks and family dinners and reunions across the country, and the generation of children raised on them is now cooking for themselves. “They want to make dishes that were always served at family celebrations. Our recipes have become part of their domestic traditions,” according to the Ladies.

The Best of Bridge is more than a company. It’s an institution that is deeply interwoven into the fabric of Canadian life. But more than that, it’s a testament to the spirit and wherewithal of eight exceptional women whose collective head for business is matched by their commitment to each other.

Decades later, the Ladies of The Best of Bridge are retired but wanting their legacy to last, they were lucky enough to be put in touch with food writer, cooking professional and culinary whiz, Sally Vaughan-Johnston. Sally says she could not have found a better group of friends and that working so closely with these amazing women was a truly marvelous experience.


So, the culinary baton was passed, a new Bridge friend was welcomed into the group, and the result was Bravo!, Fanfare! and Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook. The majority of the recipes were Sally’s, but all were appraised and critiqued by the Ladies. Sally added new and ethnic ingredients and updated the recipe style a touch (there are fewer calls for canned soup), but every single dish was multi-tested by both the Ladies and Sally. If the Ladies weren’t delighted, the recipe simply didn’t make it into the book.

And now the culinary baton is being passed again. With the resounding endorsement and approval of the original Ladies, it was announced during a memorable dinner on May 20th, 2015, that a new trio of friends will carry on the tradition and connect Best of Bridge to a whole new generation of home cooks. Julie Van Rosendaal, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and Sue Duncan are now writing and creating cookbooks for Best of Bridge. Their recipes will not only reflect their friendship but also their love of cooking – a true homage to the extraordinary brand built by the original Ladies. And they will be lending their considerable social media and publicity expertise to all things Bridge so there will be lots of opportunity to get to know them over the coming months.

In the words of the Ladies, “Our motto remains: ‘Simple recipes with gourmet results’ and, as our loyal fans have come to expect, the recipes work and the one-liners will keep you smiling.”


  • Publishing History

  • The best of Bridge – 1976

  • Enjoy! – 1979

  • Winners – 1984

  • Grand Slam – 1988

  • Aces – 1992

  • That’s Trump – 1995

  • The Best of the Best and More – 2004

  • A Year of the Best – 2008

  • The Rest of the Best and More – 2008

  • The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 1 – 2008

  • Bravo! Best of Bridge Cookbook – 2009

  • The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 2 – 2010

  • Fanfare! Best of Bridge Cookbook – 2011

  • Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook – 2012

  • The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 3 – 2013

  • Best of Bridge Home Preserving – 2014

  •  Best of Bridge Holiday Classics – 2014

  • Best of Bridge Home Cooking - 2015