Women of Vancouver: Jackie Ellis

Dec 19 2017, 7:34 am


Women of Vancouver (WofV) is a new bi-weekly editorial featuring the most stylish and professional women in Vancouver. Style by Sarai recently interviewed Jackie Ellis for this exclusive in-depth photo editorial.

What do you do for work?
I’m the owner of Beaucoup Bakery & Café and an upcoming company, The Paris Tours, which will hold gastronomic tours of the best patisseries and boulangeries of Paris.

How did you come up with concept for Beaucoup Bakery & Café?
In my previous life, I owned a design firm, and as hobby on the side I started a small bakery selling at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market. I absolutely fell in love with the markets and it resonated so deeply with me! I’ve always witnessed food creating connections between people, its ability to be a starting point for building community, and as a point of inspiration or comfort. I wanted to create an experience to reflect this, and that’s how Beaucoup began.

Have you been into baking all of your life?
I’ve baked since I was a child. Being from a Chinese family, baking was not a part of our kitchen culture. So I taught myself from library books and, riding my red bike to the store, I would use my allowance to buy ingredients. I started with simple rice krispy squares on the backs of cereal boxes, moved on to carrot cakes in cookbooks and as I got more advanced, I would buy culinary school textbooks and reference books in order to understand the science behind baking.

While I was designing and baking for farmer’s markets, a series of events led me to question whether or not I was living the life I really desired. I asked myself if there was anything I would regret not doing at the age of 80, and taking a year off for pastry school in Paris was among them. So that’s what I did! I also made it my mission to eat everything I could while traveling all of France and Italy. I went on a safari in Tanzania, I hiked mountains in the DRC to see gorillas, I camped around the waterfalls of the Grand Canyon, and in the process, I redefined myself as a person. When I returned, I had a few things I really wanted to do, one was to start a beautiful bakery and another to start a food tour in France.

How is Paris Tours different from other tourist companies in France? What made you start this company?
I took a lot of food tours in France and Italy and there are many really great ones. I just love sharing Paris from my perspective! I spent months eating my way through almost every great pastry shop and during my last trip to Paris, I was overflowing with passion for the food in the city. The plan is to bring 8-10 people from Vancouver on a 3-4 day tour of the patisseries and boulangeries in Paris, and through this, experience the city that constantly re-inspires a passion of food in me.

DIVA AT THE MET | 645 Howe Street, Vancouver

What about Diva At The Met do you like and enjoy?
Hamid Salimian is one of the most talented chefs in the city right now and I adore his food.

What do you recommend everyone to try?
The chef’s tasting menu with wine pairing. Although since this, he’s moved on to being a professor at VCC! I’m hoping that he will strike out on his own and start something so I can enjoy his food again.

VANCOUVER FLEA MARKET | 703 Terminal Ave, Vancouver

How long have you been into antique shopping?
It’s been a life-long fascination. A close family friend used to own a Chinese antique shop in Chinatown and I spent every saturday there after my Chinese language lessons. I’d hide among all the jade and porcelain drinking cherry coke.

And when I lived in France, I would go to all the little marché aux puces and dig through all the old keys, taxidermy birds, and obscure tools.

 | 1324 Franklin Street, Vancouver

What’s your connection to antique shopping?
I just love that each piece has a history and evidence of another life written all over it. And there are just some unique and beautiful designs you never see anymore.

Clothes or Furniture?
Mostly furniture, housewares and jewelry.

Where do you go for the best finds?
I love the Vancouver flea market for beautiful old plates, silverware and quirky items. Antique Market is wonderful for furniture and Paris flea markets for jewelry and linens.

FORTY NINTH PARALLEL CAFÉ | 2152 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

With all of your travels, what do you think of Vancouver’s café and restaurant industry? Where do you see it going?
Vancouver’s food scene is at an amazingly exciting point. In the grand scheme of things, we are just starting to really develop a sophisticated palate and hunger for food at a level comparable to other metropolitan cities. It’s neat because the industry is still relatively small and so we are able to be a tight knit community that offers help and camaraderie. When I first started into this community, I was overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and hospitality I was shown. It was incredibly instrumental in the opening of the bakery.

In the coming years, I see Vancouver’s food and beverage community growing exponentially. We have had a taste of adventurous and high quality food and it seems our appetites are insatiable for more! I think we will continue with niche-focused establishments. It seems to have been a successful model to put efforts into doing one or two offerings very well as opposed to trying to accomplish too much and spreading the efforts too thin.

Owning a bakery and café, where do you go for coffee/lattes and baking goods?
I love 49th Parallel and their commitment to quality. Vince Piccolo has an unrelenting desire to raise the bar for coffee in every possible way, that is something to be admired. It’s one of the reasons I chose them to be our partner in coffee, I knew I would always get a consistently great product and that it would only get better. When I’m not at the bakery, I do visit Lucky’s on Main Street among other shops as I love the coffee and the atmosphere. For pastries, I love checking out all the wonderful patisseries and bakeries in Vancouver. I believe strongly in supporting the food community in any way I can. However, my heart will always have a soft spot for Thomas Hass’ patisserie as it’s where I spent many Saturdays dreaming of having a bakery of my own one day.

What does a typical weekend look like for you?
I’m working at the bakery! I’m usually out front on the weekends where I get to sneak peeks at people enjoying the space and food. That’s one of the best parts.

I take some Sundays off to relax, enjoy being outside, eat and see my friends.

Who inspires you when it comes to fashion and style?
I think anyone can inspire me. I’ll see a great combination of fabrics, an interesting silhouette or a refreshing colour from people off the street or in magazines. Mostly, I find myself drawn to the classics and have often admired women’s fashion in old 50’s movies.

What does style mean to you?
It means having fun, not taking yourself too seriously and feeling amazing with what you put on your body, every single day. When I was in Paris, it was a part of the culture to believe that you were beautiful regardless of shape and size. It made me understand that beauty was so subjective, affected by culture, opinion, or trend. With that in mind, I saw that beauty was, in fact, quite simple: You are beautiful, if you believe you are. And I think maybe style spawns from that kind of comfort in your own skin.





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Women of Vancouver is a bi-weeky editorial featuring the most stylish and professional women in Vancouver. WofV is currently being released exclusively on Vancity Buzz two Thursdays of each month. Folllow @WomenofVancity on Twitter for updates.