It’s always fun to go back over the year’s stories and remind myself where the year went. It’s even more fun to check back with story makers to hear about holiday plans — and what to look forward to in 2016.
David Robertson (The Dirty Apron):
“I’ll continue to remember that it’s family first and business second. In the end, it makes my business more successful.”
This summer The Dirty Apron taught 200 kids how to cook, with another 500 on their waitlist. “We don’t mom and pop it,” says owner David Robertson. “They clean whole salmon, break down chickens.” The school also cut a cheque for $15,000 — one dollar for every copy of The Dirty Apron cookbook sold — to the Reign Foundation, which supports 151 children in Cambodia. The Dirty Apron will be closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 5, and Robertson and his family are heading to Whistler. “My kids are going to learn how to ski this year,” he says.
Louise Schönberg (Karameller):
“I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I can never keep them anyway.”
Karameller had two slow weeks after Halloween but has had little reprieve since then. Corporate and specialty orders are keeping them busy, including one ironic cross-promotion with a gym that gives away a jar of candy each day. The shop will be closed the first two weeks of January. “We’re taking a road trip to California,” says co-owner Louise Schönberg, who has Disneyland in her sights. “I don’t think our toddler wants to go. It’s more for me and my husband than him.”
Dave Le (Icepik Shavery):
“We’re looking at expanding to additional locations in the coming year.”
Open since April, Icepik Shavery enjoyed the long, hot summer. They’ve added to their menu to include hot and cold Taiwanese milk tea, served with jelly or tapioca bubbles and are working on waffle bowls for their snow cream.
Also in the works is a sea-cream coffee, popularized by an L.A. café called 85 degrees. “It’s like a Vietnamese-style, dark coffee with a sea salt-based whipped cream on top,” says Le. “We sweeten the dark coffee and the sea cream creates a mild balance of sweet and salt.”
Jason Pitschke (Boulevard):
“It’s tough to say as a pastry chef [because] we tend to get really involved in our work, but I’m going to try to spend more time with my family. My kids are getting older and I want to have a little more balance.”
At Boulevard in the Sutton Place Hotel, pastry chef Jason Pitschke is rolling out the holiday specials: bûches de noel, cranberry sorbet, pumpkin tarts. The winter dessert menu features a dark chocolate yuzu dome with black sesame and warm crème anglaise poured tableside. And take a look around the restaurant in December — Pitschke has tucked meticulously decorated chocolate Christmas trees into the dining room’s nooks and crannies.
Sam Pero (Italia Bakery and The Cannoli King):
“I want to bring a little Sicily to everyone.”
It’s been a busy year for Sam Pero and his team, with Italia Bakery going strong and the Cannoli King truck booked solid through 2016. In the works for next year are a second food truck, and a facelift for the bakery to make room for — wait for it — a cannoli bar. “Pick your shell, pick your filling. You can have a fresh cannoli any time of the day,” says Pero. In the meantime, you can stock up on seasonally flavoured cannoli, peppermint biscotti and housemade panettone.
Whatever you resolve — even if it’s just to eat another cookie — have a happy new year.