Published Monday, November 19, 2012 6:49PM PST Last Updated Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:27PM PST
The caramel colour is the tell-tale sign of perfection in a croissant. (CTV)
Who inspires you? Who makes you want to be better, to do more with your life? That question was put to me recently and I realized I've added a new name to a long list.
Her name is Jackie Ellis. She is the one-woman dynamo behind Beaucoup Bakery. As I write, the finishing touches to her cafe at 5th and Fir Street are being completed. Over the last few years, she has gained a reputation for delectable pastries through sales at farmers markets. One bite of anything she bakes and you'll know why.
As a hobby baker, I have the utmost respect for people who are truly talented – and trained. Like most of us, I'm a sucker for a great croissant or brownie, but it's Jackie's story and her passion that have made me a devotee. Jackie is a computer graphic designer, or at least she was. A few years ago, she gave up a successful career behind a desk to follow her bliss – to own a pastry shop. She saved her money – went to Paris – and studied with a top chef. Who gives up a perfectly good career to do something that has no guarantee of success?! It turns out, Jackie had been thinking about it for a long time.
Unlike her idol, fifth generation Chocolatier Thomas Haas, Jackie has no baking lineage to draw upon. Still, it seems pastry is in her DNA. When she was a little girl, she would go to the library and check-out cook books. Cook books! She would then use her allowance to buy flour, butter and sugar. The beginning of a lifelong learning process. The hallmark of truly successful people.
Jackie has not only become an excellent pastry chef, her talent, work ethic and can-do attitude have earned her the respect of some of the best in the city. If you need inspiration and perhaps something delicate and sweet to go along with it, visit Beaucoup Bakery and Cafe when it opens Nov. 30. And watch for her appearance on CTV Morning Live on Nov. 29!