Ingredients aren’t the only things Jackie Kai Ellis juggles: She’s a multi-hyphenate professional. In addition to owning Vancouver’s Beaucoup Bakery & Café, Ellis leads tours through Paris’s pâtisseries and writes about fashion, design and food for several top Canadian publications.
The École-Gastronomique-Bellouet-Conseil-trained (a mouthful, albeit a delicious one) pastry chef often looks just as delectable as her creations. So, in anticipation of our new Vancouver store (September 18 is just around the corner!), we asked her to dish on the city’s style and best restaurants.
What three words would you use to describe Vancouver style?
Breezy, feminine, purposeful.
What would you do with 24 hours in Vancouver?
Wake up early. Get coffee first. Then take a leisurely hike to Lighthouse Park or around Buntzen Lake with my dog, Polly. Back in the city, I would go to Granville Island for some inspiring flowers and food. It’s not a day without putting on a beautiful dress, so I would meet with good friends for cocktails at West or L’Abattoir, then have some beautiful conversations over dinner at AnnaLena or Farmer’s Apprentice. Finally have a good night’s sleep with Polly beside me.
What is the best dessert in Vancouver?
We are lucky to have so many talented pastry chefs and bakeries in Vancouver! One dessert I recently tried and that pulls on nostalgic heart strings is the Mont Blanc at Chez Christophe. I have a soft spot for that pastry as I ate it in France a lot. It’s a hard dessert to do well in North America because of the lack of good chestnuts, but Christophe is very skilled and has done a beautiful version.
You studied at Paris’s École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil before opening Beaucoup Bakery & Café. If you had to choose: croissant or baguette?
Funny enough, baguette. Maybe it’s because I have croissant overload and the baguette is still mysterious to me.
Vancouver is known for its Asian food. Do you have favorite spots?
I have friends who are in charge of my “hole-in-the-wall” education. They make fun of my lack of Asian food knowledge in comparison to my French/fine-dining knowledge. I have loved eating at the well-known Phnom Penh, Santouka Ramen, Long’s and Mr. Red Café.
You have a thriving writing career on the side. Where is your favorite spot in Vancouver to write?
I almost always write at my loft. Mostly because I often read aloud the pieces I write, over and over again. This does not go over well in public.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I don’t really like the idea of guilt; I find it tends to ruin an experience. You might as well enjoy it if you’re already doing it! However, something I am fascinated by, and admit to many people, is that I love reading self-help books and psychology magazines. I find human behavior really interesting.
Got an appetite for more Vancouver coverage? Check out our other interviews.