Bakery Reality Check

Thanks so much for all your comments. They've given me more to consider.

@ DCarl1 - I have more money saved (about 6 more months of unemployment) and a comfortable safety net too. But I'm not keen on using up my safety net. I guess it's there for my sense of security:)

@ Meat Guy - I totally agree. A big factor is that I hope to start a family and have kids in the next 3-5 years. I'm hoping I'll be able to train capable people by then so I can decrease my hours and focus on the managerial aspect. In a worst case scenario, I can sell the business, hopefully for some profit if I play my cards right. But I'm not sure how optimistic that is.

@Jerzee Tomato - It freaks the hell out of me but the idea of building something from the ground up is also exciting. Can I answer, a bit of both?

I did farmer's markets for 1.5 years from home before I decided to go to Pastry school. I loved it, but it was grueling since I was doing it alone and had a demanding full time business as well. It was a great way to test my abilities and products on paying customers and had great reception.

Vancouver is a relatively young city and market research I've seen shows that food-related businesses are on the rise and there is room for expansion.

What about the benefits! There has to be a reason why some people are crazy enough to do this...especially, mid-life!

Cook the Book: 'The Essential New York Times Cookbook'

Martha stewart baking

Cook the Book: 'Sarabeth's Bakery'

Me! I bought a school fundraiser cookbook when I was about 8 and used to ride my bike to the grocery store using my allowance to buy ingredients. Now I'm off to pastry school in Paris:)

Cook the Book: 'Baked Explorations'

thomas haas in vancouver

Cook the Book: 'Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies'

Chocolate peppermint cookies! Cheesecake thumbprints! Ginger shortbread! Reminds me I must start holiday baking very soon.

Cook the Book: 'Bobby Flay's Throwdown!'

Something he's not great at...I like to see him struggle (evil laugh)

Cook the Book: Barefoot Contessa, 'How Easy Is That?'

Slow roasted beef tenderloin. Rub on some garlic and thyme and roast in a low oven for an hour. Practically cooks itself and is so juicy and tender. Serve with some sauteed mushrooms of garlicky spinach.

Pastry school in France

Thanks so much! I did apply to Bellouet Conseil. The timing worked out well and I liked the fact the program covered so many areas of pastries including savor petit fours. The class sizes are intimate at 7 people too! I can't wait!!!

what to do with amok?

haha! I knew there was a pun in there somewhere. I think I'll mix with coconut milk and fish sauce and braise some fish in it or something. See what that turns out to taste like.

Where to eat in Vancouver?

Forgot to mention...only steakhouse in vancouver where I've been truly impressed is Gotham...bit pricey but the meat is such amazing quality!

Where to eat in Vancouver?

If you're feeling like venturing out to west vancouver, le regalade has amazing french bistro food.

Upscale: West, bishops, lumiere, MARKET...great brunch too, Tojo's, diva at the met. Raincity grill seems to have better brunch than dinner in my opinion.

Causal: Salt tasting room for charcuterie/cheese, refuel for updated local pub food, Vij's which has a 2 hour wait normally so you can go next door to their quicker more casual restaurant Rangoli. Trattoria has decent pastas. Go to oyama sausage on granville island and ask them to make up a picnic for you, you're right on the water so it's beautiful. Fish & chips take out at raincity grill. That's right on the beach so it's a great sunny day thing to do. Go fish has great fish tacos. Japadog which has a few locations and are japanese fusion hot dogs.

Sushi: deserves it's own category here:) Ajisai in kerrisdale. Shiro on cambie. Toshi is popular but has long line-ups.

Desserts/bakery: Thomas Hass (must try double baked almond croissant), ganache patisserie for amazing entrement.

Chinese: Shanghai river for shanghai food, Rain flower in richmond as well is great dim sum.

Cook the Book: 'Fiesta at Rick's'

Bayless because he does yoga and yoga people are nice.

Cook the Book: The Perfect Finish

12 layer mocha cake from gourmet

Cook the Book: 'The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook'

Cook the Book: 'Recipes from an Italian Summer'

panna cotta with berries

What is the best cake to serve at a beach party?

maybe do a smores cake or something like it. Fine cooking had one on their cover a few months ago that looked amazing and I'm sure you can add a layer of graham cracker crumbs+melted butter to the middle.
I always think a layer cake is a must for birthdays:) I live by my dome cake carrier from target which transports layer cakes really well.

Cook the Book: 'Pig: King of the Southern Table'

red cooked pork belly

Cook the Book: 'Seasonal Fruit Desserts'

sour cherry pie too!

Chocolate Dessert Help!

I second the molton chocolate cakes...they're so easy, can be made in advance and just stuck in the oven last minute. Best of all, they never fail to get yum noises. has many good recipes for it.

Crumb cake - more crumb than cake

yeah! I want to know how it turns out too. I was eyeing it and thought I might try it.

Mother's Day Giveaway: Peanut Butter & Co. Chocolate Bonbons

chinese dumplings, everything from scratch including the dough. We come from N. china where jiao zi are famous and my family has been making them for generations including variations like fish and cilantro in addition to the usual pork and shrimp etc. Then with the leftover dough, she makes scallion pancakes with little chunks of chinese bacon...getting homesick.

Cook the Book: 'The Vegetarian Option'

pasta alla norma...or just fries. Could eat nothing but.

cutting tops off cakes

Some bakers formulate their recipes so they bake flat. So if it's already flat, don't cut off the gummy stuff, after the frosting is on I find I can't really tell the difference:)

Fussers, Vegetarians and Food Adventurers- Mixed Bag Gathering

Most of my dinner parties end up being a bunch diverse eaters, including one for whom I haven't figured out the full "will not eat" list. I do a lot of make-your-own parties where I lay out a bunch of ingredients and have them put in whatever they like. I've done Pizza, waffles etc. For yourself, it might be simple to put out a bunch of sandwich things like a few different breads, condiments (can get really creative here), relishes, caramelized onions, cheeses, roasted and fresh veggies etc. It's fun for people especially if you put out ingredients they might never try and begin to feel adventurous.

I've also thought of doing a chili party: big pot of vegetarian chili, putting out cooked chorizo, cheese, and other toppings with homemade cornbread and chips.

Hope this helps!

Cook the Book: 'Ready for Dessert'

peanut butter cup cheesecake with caramel drizzle. It's every good dessert in one.

Bakery Reality Check

Anyone own a bakery? I need a reality check. I took a year off from my freelance business to go to pastry school in France and also did an internship at a tea salon/patisserie.

I'm trying to decide if I should start a bakery in Vancouver but understand that there are realities of owning my own bakery that go beyond the fantasy that is Meryl Streep in "It's Complicated". I'm also used to owning my own business and am at an age where it seems hard to work at another bakery for a few years before I start out on my own.

What are the pros and cons of owning a bakery? Any advice? Please give me a reality check, but it would be great if you could tell me why you love it too. All I've read are horror stories so far!

Thanks so much.

What do you do with leftover sushi?

I know some will eat day-old sushi, but it's always creeped me out. So it ends up staying in the fridge for a couple days out of guilt and then on to the garbage pail.

I'm curious, what do you do with your sushi day-olds?

Pastry school in France

My husband and I are in a really fortunate position to take a year off to follow our passions. I've decided to go to pastry school in France!! I've been reading a lot about which schools are good and I've narrowed them down to 3 based on length of time.

Olivier Bajard
Bellouet Conseil
ENSP - Ecole National Supèrieure de la Pâtisserie

I have NO idea which to choose! Wondering if any of you have had experience or have heard anything that might help me.
Thanks so much in advance:)

what to do with amok?

My sister came back from cambodia with a bunch of dry spices for me, one of which is amok. I'm not sure what to cook to make the most of this spice. Would love some ideas!

Poll: best devil's food cake recipe

I want to make THE best devil's food cake for a friend and I've narrowed it down to three recipes but I can't decide so I thought I'd poll the serious eaters to see which you think is the winner....if there is one:)

1. Devil's food cake by Rose Levy Beranbaum
2. Devil's food cake by Cook's illustrated
3. Beatty's chocolate cake by Ina Garten

Thanks for letting me borrow your tastebuds!

birthday ideas

I want to have about 10-15 people over for my birthday. The challenge is, they all have diverse eating preferences. Some are vegetarians, some that eat very healthy and some like myself who love the bacon!

I usually do a "make your own" party like pizza or waffles etc. where I put out a buffet of toppings and they can pick what they like but I'm starting to run out of ideas! The other kicker is that I don't want to spend huge amounts of money.

The only idea I've come up with so far is a big pot of vegetarian chili and I can make some cornbread some homemade tortilla chips, have chorizo and other yummy toppings.

Any other ideas?

white chocolate pound cake help!

I want to make my regular pound cake into a white chocolate pound cake. Should I just add melted which chocolate to the sugar/butter creaming stage? Or do I need to take out some butter to account for the cocoa fat?

Any info would help me out A LOT!

Advice on starting a cooking club?

I live in Vancouver and want to find foodies to start a cooking club. I've looked to see if one exists but none to my knowledge. Unfortunately, all my friends love eating my food but would never think of cooking/baking as something fun to do or talk about and I'm feeling a little lonely in my passion for food. (especially when I go gaga over the most recent burger article in Saveur and there are blank stares...gets a little dissatisfying on both ends)

So I'm thinking of starting my own cooking club but I'm unsure about a few things. For example, how do I get the word out? But mostly, I'm not sure how to deter crazy people or singles just wanting a hook up. I don't want to let just anyone in my home. I want to spend time with other foodies but not ones that have scary pasts or are completely obnoxious or keep trying to hit on everyone in the room.

Do you think I just need to wait to find some good foodie friends in the future or is it better to put it out to the public and see what happens?


Kind of a branch off from another topic but would love to know if anyone has tried this. Haven't looked into it too much in terms of health concerns.

From their website, it says you can bake with it (as in it is okay in heat) but I can imagine it might not react the same way in creaming etc. Has anyone tried baking with it? How's the taste?

best seattle eats?

I live in Vancouver and try to go to Seattle a few times a year since I LOVE eating there. My highlights? Amandines at Bakery Nouveau and anything at La Carta de Oaxaca. I've also been known to eat both the coconut cream pie and creme caramel for dessert at Dahlia.

The hubbie and I are going down again in early August. What are your "must eat" recommendations?

anyone read these books?

I'm thinking about getting one or both of these cookbooks but my cookbook shelf is getting excessively full and want to be a little more discriminating. Wondering if anyone has "Well-preserved" by Eugenia Bone or "Fat" by Jennifer McLagan? Heard nice things about both but what do you think?

Also on the back-burner to buy is "The Taste of Country Cooking" by Edna Lewis...too many books I want...any on your shelf that you think is a must have? One you'd by before any of the one's I've mentioned?

what to do with chive flowers

I have a bunch of them blooming in the garden. I've waited long enough because I can see some of them are on their last legs!
I'll probably make something for dinner with them but is there anything you can do with a chive flower that isn't just a nice garnish?

confused nougat

My grandfather was a chinese pastry chef and I recently got his old nougat recipe from a cousin...but it's poorly translated from Chinese, vague and it just doesn't look right. I've looked online at almost every nougat recipe and they all seem very different from this one!

Wondering if anyone has some insight as to if this recipe is really accurate or if you could answer some of the questions that have come up for me. The nougat is quite chewy and not airy but substantial.

Here are the ingredients and instructions with my questions:
A: water, sugar, syrup (don't know if it's corn or glucose)
B: nuts, butter, egg whites, milk and vanilla powder
C: syrup ( again, doesn't specify what kind)

1. Mix A (do you think I should be boiling this to a specific temp?)
2. from B, whip whites until thick. Add rest of B.
3. Mix A,B and C. Cook under 90 celcius (this one seems strange! do you think C should be cooked to a specific temp too?)
4. Cool and cut

Any insight would be incredibly helpful!!!

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