Ace Bakery Incubator – 20 years, 20 artisans, 1 weekend ACEBakery.com
On June 22, Ace Bakery celebrated its 20th anniversary with the introduction of 20 of the country’s greatest emerging culinary artisans at its Artisan Incubator Showcase. Walking through the doors I was overwhelmed with the setup, the sounds and the aromas of inspiring food. The events focus is to celebrate artisan food, the importance of local sustainable food producers and to introduce artisan entrepreneur communities across Canada. Around the room 20 booths are setup highlighting feature products and recipes created by the artisans hoping to change the way we think about food. Midway through the event ACE Bakery announced two artisans were selected to receive additional business development because of their bold vision of the future in food (scroll down to the end of page if you’re impatient). It was really hard, but out of the many I have selected a few entrepreneurs that really stood out amongst the crowd.
I learned something new with Pyramid (www.pyramidfarmandferments.com): eating lacto-ferments stimulates and improves your immune system. 80% of your immune system is your digestive system, and Pyramid’s vegan kimchi is 20 times more effective than probiotic yogurt and with no fat! One of the other products you need to know is Kombucha, a fermented tea, so delicious and a natural detoxifier which gives you a boost of refreshing good-for-your-body energy. Another gem is Highwood Crossing’s (www.highwoodcrossing.com) smooth, cool and robust golden flax seed oil containing the highest vegetarian food source of essential fatty acid omega-3. Vous etes (http://www.choco-cocagne.com/),one of the tastiest chocolate producers in the country, is not yet online but they’re do ship their outstanding edible works of art: Le Feuillete combines the sweet aroma of a sizzling crepe with silky hazelnut cream.
Bella Gelateria (www.bellagelateria.com) makes award winning gelato. The Bella philosophy is to work with local growers and stay in season with their flavours – like salted pecan with maple syrup. The result is an explosion of flavour, hitting each taste at once, then gently melts away into one of the best frozen desserts I have ever tasted.
I love salt! Vancouver Island Salt Co. (www.visaltco.com) Fleur de Sel is Canada’s first sea salt harvestry. Due to Vancouver’s cooler climate the salt crystals have a firmer texture adding a delicate crunch to the sautéed shrimps and scallops with honey-green onion glaze recipe.
And how could I leave out how lovely the bread display and chandelier furnished by ACE Bakery of course. I especially enjoyed the herb schiacciata (a Tuscan flatbread topped with Herbes de Provence) so salty, chewy and just wonderful – baked fresh daily at Loblaws around the corner from Maple Leaf Gardens.
Last but not least the two artisans selected to receive continued mentorship: Les Jardins Sauvages (www.jardinssauvages.com) from St-Roch de L’Achigan, Quebec and Seed to Sausage (www.seedtosausage.ca) from Tichborne, Ontario. Nancy and Francois from Les Jardins Sauvages forage from the spring to the frost for wild plants, spices and mushrooms to create cooked dishes, soups and sauces. It’s a family tradition passed down over four generations. Celebrating the terroir they have created a delightful salmon tartare.
Local, ethical, humble is Michael McKenzie’s philosophy, “I just want to make honest food for people to enjoy. Using only the additives need, we strive to make Canadian cured meats and great tasting food with hormone and antibiotic-free pork, all made by hand”. His smoky bacon is salty, crunchy and fatty – I can’t get enough. Chorizo crab cakes sing with flavour and texture.
I had a blast at this event and can’t wait to see where these 20 artisans will wind up next.