From athletes to musicians and moviemakers - these busy game changers dish on their favourite family recipes, health secrets and what foods keep 'em going. Find out how they avoid hanger, what they're craving and how to stay healthy on the run.
Jackie Ellis is both maker of mean pastry and creator of Fir Street sensation, Beaucoup Bakery in Vancouver. Beaucoup boasts an array of goodies whose deliciousness surpass even your most explicit pastry fantasies. They’re so divine; Western Living Magazine crowned Jackie one of the top 40 foodies under 40 in Canada.
Jackie took a moment to share with us her 3 go-to’s for hosting the perfect teatime, a few wise words about navigating health trends, and reminded us that our body is our best health advisor – even if that means a date with a pain au chocolat every now and then.
We would not be able to keep from instituting mandatory taste testing all day every day. How do you resist the urge?
I’m a passionate eater and food is a huge part of enjoying life for me. I couldn't imagine not having something sweet every single day! I really try to appreciate my body as it is, wobbly bits and all! I don't believe that numbers define how beautiful I am or feel. My ultimate goal is to honour my body and that includes eating in a way that shows appreciation for it.
What originally turned you on to the world of baking?
Being from a Chinese family, sweets were not part of our every day life and were rarely allowed! The only way I got to eat cookies or cake was to learn how to bake them myself. I would take books out of the library and buy ingredients with my allowance. It was really just a love for eating that turned me to baking, and not much has changed actually.
Food pet peeves and faux-pas:
I don't know if I have food pet peeves but I do appreciate when someone will try a new food before they decide they don't like it. I also love those who hold true to their own opinions about food and yet don't judge or try to convince others to share their personal beliefs.
Do you ever get hangry? What’s the cure?
Haha! I do get hangry! When you're food lover like myself, I can be quite cranky when I'm not well fed. I've been known to keep a granola bar or banana in my purse.
Lots of fruit and yogurt for days on-the-go. Lately I've been eating out a lot and don't have as much time to cook - so I have a selection of frozen Vij's curry for quick meals that taste great.
What’s in your fridge right now?
I just cooked a huge meal in my teeny apartment for the "BeauCrew" yesterday. So now I have an insane amount of leftovers. My fridge is overflowing with chicken with artichokes and olives, Oyama sausages with caramelized onions, pesto orichette with zucchini and cauliflower, crudité, cheese and of course - wine and beer.
What’s the most important part of your health and wellness regimen?
I try my best to be connected to myself and my body. I find my body tells me what it wants and needs, whether that’s yoga, a glass of water, or 30 minutes by myself with a pain au chocolat.
Who do you look to for health and wellness advice?
I used to be quite a fanatic for healthy eating, exercise and I probably followed more trends than I care to admit. This changed when I lived in Paris and realized that I was much happier when I just listened to myself as opposed to follow a set of do’s and don'ts.
The best piece of health advice you’ve ever received?
Paris taught me that health is as much about the soul as it is the physical body.
What are 3 essentials for hosting the perfect tea time?
Amazing food, great company and flowers.
Favorite family recipe (if you’re allowed to share!):
I have many recipes for Chinese dishes that are specialties of my grandparents’ Northern Chinese heritage, but they are quite complex! This is a simple recipe that’s healthy, fresh and very quick to prepare! (See below for the recipe.)
If you could eat one of your pastries for every meal, everyday (without getting sick or gaining weight) – what would it be?
Pain au chocolat. They are my absolute favourite!
Thanks Jackie – we’re now all salivating at our desks. If her description of the leftovers didn’t get to you, then we’re betting all this talk about pain au chocolats did.
If you find yourself in Vancouver – head to Kits and make Beaucoup Bakery your first stop. Our recommendation is the almond croissant – it’s life changing. (And yes – it’s worth cheating on your wheat-free/sugar-free cleanse for!)
Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Julienned Vegetables
Serves 4 , Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes
This requires almost no cooking and is adaptable for non-vegetarian and gluten-free members of the family. It’s also a “fridge cleaner” which means you can swap out any of the veggies with whatever you have on hand (ex: spinach, bean sprouts, bok choi, chard, beans, broccoli, shaved brussel sprouts, asparagus)
Noodles: 3 bundles (390g) Japanese buckwheat noodles (for gluten-free, use 100% buckwheat noodles)
1 cup vegetable broth (or use chicken broth for a non-vegetarian option)
½ cup Japanese soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
¼ cup rice vinegar, seasoned or plain
2 Tbsp organic cane sugar (can substitute white sugar or agave/honey/brown rice syrup)
1 tsp finely grated ginger
¼- ½ tsp chili flakes, preferably Korean red chili powder (optional)
4 large eggs, soft boiled
2 Medium Japanese cucumbers or ½ English cucumber julienned
2 Medium Carrots julienned
1 Small Red pepper julienned
3 Large Red radishes thinly sliced
3 Shitake mushrooms stems removed and sliced
2 Green onions, white and green parts, julienned
½ cup Radish sprouts
1 Tbsp Toasted black sesame seeds for garnish (or regular sesame seeds)
A few sprigs of cilantro for garnish
1. Boil a medium pot of water and cook buckwheat noodles according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Divide between 4 large bowls.
2. Simultaneously boil the eggs, peel and slice in half lengthwise.
3. While the eggs and noodles are cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the cold broth in a bowl, set aside. Then prep the veggies.
4. To finish, divide the broth and toppings among the 4 bowls of noodles, broth in first. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, top with a few cilantro sprigs and serve.
*For a non-vegetarian variation, try adding julienned honey ham
Nicole Boileau is a Vancouver-based RHN who loves spending time outdoors and dreaming up as many healthy porridge recipes as possible. Get in touch to talk all things food and health and check out her website for more recipe inspiration!