Chambar Veterans Eleanor Chow & Slavita Johnson Opening “Cadeaux” On The DTES
by Claire Lassam | With big name bakeries like Thierry opening up downtown it takes no small amount of confidence to open another beside the Number 5 Orange strip club on the DTES, but that’s the plan for young, first timer owners Eleanor Chow and Slavita Johnson. The Chambar alumni have big ideas for 172/178 Powell Street (at Main). It’s a new building in an area that’s quickly changing (see Big Lou’s and Two Chefs & A Table), and their plan – with me as their assistant – is to change up French classics with local ingredients (think perfect French macarons with cranberries, cakes seasoned with fresh herbs and more). They want to make the place feel cozy, clean and warm, and with the help of designer Craig Stangetta (see Revolver, Meat & Bread, Pizzeria Farina), that’s unlikely to be a problem.
Slavita has already started collecting cake stands in her apartment, and in less than 3 months they hope to debut the room with its huge glass counters displaying everything from cookies to wedding cakes. The most important thing, Eleanor says, is “to make food that we want to eat.” That means unfussy and unpretentious but still executed with the techniques she and Slavita learned from working desserts and pastries at places like Lumiere and Blue Water Cafe.
They’re hoping to include the greater community by naming ice creams after friends and local celebrities, and to make it a spot that people commuting downtown from anywhere east of Main St. can grab their morning coffee or pick up dessert on their way home. If all goes according to plan, expect a pre-Christmas splash. In the meantime, I, their trusty assistant, will continue making pastries (sold at the Dirty Apron Delicatassen) and getting excited for opening day.
Claire Lassam is a baker, blogger, and freelance writer based in East Van. She has been cooking and baking her way through the city for nearly five years, working in restaurants ranging from Cioppino’s to Meat & Bread. She currently toils at the soon-to-open Cadeaux Bakery in Railtown and runs the baking blog Just Something Pretty.