Chefs’ Favourite Pantry Items

Peter Fong,  Ganache Pâtisserie

Cocoa Barry isn’t the most expensive French chocolate, but it’s fruity and flavourful and offers incredible value. The Tanzanie is the best, with its floral tones and hints of raspberry. Love their cocoa butters and hazelnut paste, too.

I use a 4” offset Ateco spatula for everything: mixing, tasting, and finishing touches for our little desserts.



                                   Eleanor Chow,  Chambar

 Napoleon brandy is flavourful and incredibly versatile. When a dessert needs a little kick, add a splash.

You can derive so many different textures from quality apples. I’ll use Granny Smith for something really sour and tart, but I love sweet, perfumey-fresh Ambrosias.

Separate egg whites as cleanly as possible. There can’t be any traces of yolk or fat in the bowl or the whites won’t stiffen properly. Copper bowls give amazing volume.


Hamid Salimian  The Apron

Cardamom is the big brother of spices. I use it to flavour simple syrups and in poaching liquid for any kind of fruit. It’s excellent in ice cream, too.

 Baking has to be precise. Always, always use a timer and an in-oven thermometer—clip it to a rack and check it regularly. Sugar is a finicky thing, and the slightest moment separates perfect bake from perfect burnt.



Marco Cornale  Fratelli Bakery

Kids’ cakes are what I’ve been specializing in lately. I draw detailed designs freehand, and a simple 8” x 11” sheet of parchment paper used as an overlay helps me to work out different colours and patterns.

Growing up Italian, I’ve drunk espresso all my life and I really enjoy the rich, distinct aroma and taste. For tiramisu I use Terrelli Coffee, a local roaster—it’s brilliant.


Lysanne Sweeney Secret Garden Tea Co.

Pecans have a maple quality that lends itself to pastry. We buy them raw from Whole Foods and roast them ourselves, which makes all the difference.

My favourite kitchen tool is a rounded plastic hand scraper. It’s great for taking batter out of Hobart mixing bowls. So versatile, cheap as hell—I can’t live without it.


Starved for more dessert info?

Catch an exclusive Q&A with top pastry chef Wendy Boys or delight in Vancouver’s best desserts.

If you’re in the mood for chocolate, learn more about its journey from the cacao bean.