Almost at Home with Pastry Chef Wendy Boys

Pastry Chef Wendy Boys and Sous Chef Martin Roussel

Pastry Chef Wendy Boys and Sous Chef Martin Roussel make an entertaining pair and a great five course meal too.

Inside Vancouver’s very own Granville Island Market lies a hidden gem of a culinary experience that all foodies simply must delight in – EdibleBC Market Dinners.  After meeting with Eric Pateman, I returned to experience one of his private market dinners hosted by Pastry Chef Wendy Boys.

Shortly after market closing, we were taken to EdibleBC’s retail location inside the market, which transforms at night into a kitchen set for demonstrations.  A black linen table was set with silver and glassware, suggesting formal dining, but it was a casual affair set in the aisle next to shops closed for the night.

Second course

Second course: Local spot prawns, spring greens, grapefruit, pea shoot salad

Informative EdibleBC staff explained the evening’s format, encouraged us to interact and ask questions, and then turned our attention to the main event: Pastry Chef Wendy Boys and her Sous Chef Martin Roussel.

The final two courses

Fourth course, left: Chocolate Mousse with Cocolico sponge toffee awaiting warm caramel foam topping

What followed were five amazing courses created by Wendy, made with ingredients either from within the market, her garden,or her chocolate business. Each course demonstrated right before us as if on a TV set but we could smell the ingredients. The food not only looked amazing, but after seeing exactly how it was prepared it heightened the experience.  It was so casually interactive as well, that I almost felt at home with Wendy.

Fifth Course

Fifth course: Macaroons & Mignardise (second from right her signature vanilla salted caramel)

Known for her signature vanilla salted caramels, the dessert course was certainly a climactic finish. Adding to the feast of an experience, all guests were given copies of each recipe served to try at home, and photos from the evening were emailed to us the next day.

As the night began to wrap up, I was able to briefly chat with Wendy about her background and Cocolico.  When she moved to Vancouver, she was already an established and trained pastry chef with over six years of restaurant experience in Calgary and Montreal, she wanted to try catering and began working at the Lazy Gourmet. “But then the restaurant drew me back,” she said, and worked for another six years in restaurants, including working with Chef Rob Feenie at Lumiere. Later in 2009, she started Cocolico.

What’s the inspiration behind the name of your company? Funny story, I was looking for a name for a long time actually. My company name is Wendy Boys Chocolates Inc. and I thought it was boring, I wanted something more whimsical.  …My favourite word always when I was a kid was coquelicot, a French word which means poppy seed. I always thought it was fun to say, but most Anglophones can’t pronounce it, so we anglo and chocolisized it to Cocolico!”

Is your background mostly French then? I went to French immersion; I’ve always had an interest in French. Then I stuck with it and moved to Quebec, became bilingual, and moved to France. French has always been a big influence for me, and I’ve always worked in French kitchens as well.

Chef Wendy delivered a culinary experience that any tourist – or local – would write home about. If you haven’t tried her signature vanilla salted caramels, the salty sweet confectionery is an an indulgent combination for any sweet-tooth!

Cocolico burnt caramel sauce

Inspired by the dinner, I purchased Cocolico's burnt caramel sauce by Wendy Boys. Cocolico has sold over 30,000 jars to date, making only 140 jars in a batch. It is Wedny's very own recipe, and despite the name, it doesn't taste burnt at all!

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