November 6, 2012 09:00 PM
Imagine quitting your job and moving to France to learn the fine art of pastry from the masters. Picture travelling around France and Italy eating your fill in order to better understand how wonderful and satisfying food can be.
Sounds impassioned. Sounds crazy. Sounds like what Jackie Ellis did.
Just five years after opening her own design firm, and doing quite well at it, she gave it all up to follow her dream. There really is no better place to learn pastry in the world, and Paris was waiting. After studying she did a stage with Angelina Salon du Thé and then, this is the good part, just followed her appetite around France and Italy for months of glorious indulgence.
Ellis immersed herself in the food and culture of Italy and France and admits she ate with wild abandon. I needed to understand food the best way I knew to eat it. It was amazing.
She came back to Vancouver inspired and perhaps a little bit rounder. She got to work and the evidence of all the croissants, macarons and cheese she enjoyed in Europe fell away, but their impression did not.
Her experience as a designer would come in very handy designing her business. With a keen eye for detail and an ability to make things look beautiful, and now taste beautiful, Beaucoup Bakery began to take shape and she got to work selling with Vancouver Farmers Market and tempting shoppers with beautifully displayed delectable treats such as local summer berry tarts and chocolate hazelnut tarts.
Although definitely inspired by her travels abroad, she was not quick to forget her childhood favourites. Even though she never found a brownie in France, there would definitely be brownies at Beaucoup. Like everything else, they would be made of the finest ingredients using some well-honed classic techniques Valrohna brownies with crystallized violet and salted caramel blondies, to be sure.
Ellis has continued to learn from the best so she can offer the best. Most recently she went to barista training at 49th Parallel Coffees headquarters in Burnaby and completed a honey tasting with Mellifera Bees honey. She has been recipe testing for months now, fine tuning her lemon tarts with candied lemon peel and milk chocolate rice pudding with blueberry cinnamon compote and hazelnut streusel.
Although sweet treats will be the focus, quiche, sandwiches and salad will be available for lunch. Come in for a treat Beaucoup will be a place that feeds your body and your soul, Ellis says.
Opening is scheduled for the end of November.
It also reminds us that with a dollop of passion, a spoonful of determination and lots of butter, dreams can come true.
Urban Rush, SHAW TV – June 4, 2012
Urban Rush food correspondent Erin Ireland is a big fan of Jackie’s baked goods! She shares them with hosts, Fiona Forbes and Michael Eckford.
Vancouver Sun - August 15, 2012
Jackie’s delicious recipe for Milk Chocolate Rice Pudding with Blueberry Compote and Hazelnut Streusel is a great way to make the most of seasonal summer fruits, not to mention some other lovely from other Vancouver pastry chefs.
Although summer started rather late this year, the bounty of local fruits has arrived, filling up farmers' markets and produce stalls. Talented chefs wait patiently all year for these succulent berries bursting with aromatic flavour, and for fragrant peaches and apricots. These fruits showcase summer at its best.
I've asked several of my favourite chefs to turn a spotlight on their favourite local summer fruits and they've come up with some brilliant creations. Whistler's Bearfoot Bistro's uber-talented young pastry chef Dominic Fortin presents a fairly simple fresh cheese mousse tart infused with dried wild rose petals and complemented with raspberries.
Meanwhile, the Fairmont Pacific Rim's pastry sous chef John Hauser brings us a spiced braised apricot set on white chocolate blondies garnished with a tart passion fruit curd.
Another of my Whistler favourites is Mark and Paula Lamming's Purebread (you'll find their stall at Vancouver farmers' markets throughout the summer) with a simple summer berry brown sugar gratin.
A newcomer on the sweet scene, opening in September at Fir and Sixth, is Jackie Ellis and her Beaucoup Bakery. She brings us a sinful, yet comforting, milk chocolate rice pudding with a blueberry compote, topped with a hazelnut streusel while Lee Cooper of Gastown's L'Abbatoir presents elegant poached peaches in champagne with English cream, champagne sabayon and thymeinfused streusel.
Finally, we have recipes from two of my favourite female pastry chefs: West's Rhonda Vianni, with her bay leaf roasted cherries and almond frangipane-filled crepes, and cadeaux bakery's Eleanor Chow, with her whimsical lemon curd fool, macerated summer fruits complemented with simple lavender sables.
Summer comes only once a year and so do our wonderful local summer fruits. Enjoy them while you can.
Another one of my favourite bakeries is Cadeaux Bakery, hidden just off Gastown. Open barely a year, partners Eleanor Chow and Slavita Johnson have brought their elegant and homestyle sweets to the Downtown Eastside area.