Restaurant: Chef Kev Cookies & Chocolate (Private Baker)
Last visited: July 28, 2011
Location: Various public markets in Vancouver, BC
Address: Commercial Kitchen – 1211 Nanaimo St. (Pick-up orders)
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 4 (based on what I tried)
Ambiance: At various public markets
- Private baker
- Made in small batches
- Gourmet/artisan baked goods
- French style cookies/baked goods
- Modern twists & creative flavours
- 100% organic
- Mostly local ingredients
- Gluten free available
- Wheat free available
- Great as gifts
- Pre-order/pick-up service available in Vancouver
- Found at various public markets
**Recommendations: Gluten Free Marzipan Ginger Cookies, Cranberry Pecan Biscotti, Tasting Bag
I was actually headed to the Granville Island Public Market, but then I saw signs for the outdoor Granville Island Farmers Market that happens every Thursday 9am-3pm until October. It’s a bit smaller than many of the other ones I’ve been to in Vancouver, but I did run into some interesting vendors, one of them being Chef Kev. Chef Kev makes 100% organic biscotti and shortbread, gluten-free cookies, chocolates and a variety of other baked goods.
I was introduced to Chef Kev back at Vancouver’s 1st Foodie Feast, a charity event I helped put on and organize. Being a supporter of local bakers, private caterers, small businesses and entrepreneurs in general, I was excited to see his line up of baked goods. However just like with all private bakers, it’s a bit of a challenge to try their things without having an official store front or location to visit. Thus, it was a random but lovely surprise to see him at the Granville Island Farmers Market. He’s actually going to be showcasing his things around a few Vancouver markets, so to find out where or to order from him directly – see here.
It was about an hour before closing time and four of his popular items were sold out. He was also offering samples of his cookies and he generously insisted on giving me one of his tasting bags to try.
Chef Kev did his French pastry training in Korea and since then he has worked alongside Pastry Chef Jean-Pierre at Blue Water Cafe, and is now at the Pan Pacific Hotel. It was only a couple years ago that he decided to launch his own business making classic French cookies with a few modern twists. His philosophy is high quality ingredients, made in small batches using 100% organic and mostly local ingredients.
His products are professional in presentation and execution, and they make great gifts, but I do find them a bit expensive. The high quality ingredients do come with a price, which I could taste, but sometimes the value can still be hard to appreciate in a cookie.
I was surprised to discover that most the things I tried actually weren’t that sweet, which I liked, but I wouldn’t have minded bolder flavours for some. I also think it could get more creative because most of the flavours I have come across from other Artisan bakers of this style, but these were still very good. They’re sophisticated, but still simple, and delicate in style and flavour. They’re great as dainty tea time cookies, or simply enjoyed as a light dessert.
On the table:
- Wheat & Dairy Free $6 for bag of 8-10 cookies
- These were easily my favourite and what surprised me the most. I loved them!
- They were incredibly soft, moist and tender cookies that melted in your mouth.
- They’re sweet, but not overly sweet and they’re quite gingery with fresh candied ginger and a bit of ginger powder.
- The little pieces of candied ginger are soft and chewy throughout the cookie.
- At first it was sweet and then the warmth and heat of the ginger kicked in, but it wasn’t spicy at all.
- The ginger was perhaps slightly more apparent than the almonds, but the almond paste (marzipan) gave it a nice aromatic nuttiness, sweetness, and creamy moist texture.
- It was a very light tea cookie with a very tender and soft semi-chewy centre and slightly crispy meringue like exterior.
- I like ginger in desserts and I’m not even huge on candied ginger, but this was one of the best I’ve had it. These cookies are a must try!
- $6/bag $8/Mixed or Tasting Bag: 3 biscotti, 6 artisan cookies $10
- These cookies smell delicious as soon as you open the bag.
- They’re great biscotti with clean execution and high quality organic ingredients, but it wasn’t particularly different than any other good quality gourmet biscotti.
- I think more interesting flavours would be good, because the brand reaches that market anyways.
- Almond Spice Biscotti – 4/6
- It’s actually barely sweet at all and I was very surprised.
- It was crunchy with lots of whole almonds, and not over baked.
- I actually couldn’t taste much spices at all and I could have used some pure almond extract or vanilla to enhance that almond flavour.
- Chocolate Almond & Cherry Biscotti – 3.5/6
- At first I almost thought they were raisins and the dried sour cherries had a slight bitterness rather than tartness or sweetness.
- It was more tender and crumbly than the almond biscotti, yet still crunchy and there were a generous amount of whole almonds throughout.
- This wasn’t that sweet at all and I think it’s just cocoa powder instead of actual chocolate. It has a very mild chocolate flavour.
- **Pecan Cranberry Biscotti – 5/6
- This was easily my favourite biscotti, but probably because I like the ingredients in it in general. It did have the most flavour though.
- It almost tasted a little lemony as well and seemed more spiced than the almond spice biscotti. It wasn’t spicy though, but very aromatic.
- It was the most dynamic in flavours and had a good amount of chewy cranberries and crunchy almonds throughout.
- It was perhaps a bit sweeter than the others too, but still not that sweet at all.
- $6/bag $8/Mixed or Tasting Bag: 3 biscotti, 6 artisan cookies $10
- The Diamant cookie is a French shortbread which has a crumbly texture and a lighter taste.
- These cookies were all very good, but I just found most of their flavours a bit muted, although the texture of the cookie itself was still delicious.
- They have a slight crunch and they were incredibly light, and the crumb was tight, tender and delicate and I could bite into little sugar crystals.
- It’s not a heavy, oily, buttery or dense sugar cookie and they would be great for tea time, especially since they’re mini.
- To give you an idea of my tastes, before trying them, I thought I would like them in this order (from favourite to least): Lavender, Green Tea, Vanilla, Lemon Ginger, Espresso and Chocolate, but it was actually quite the opposite. I do like all those flavours in general though.
- Diamant Green Tea – 3.5/6
- The green tea flavour is light, but it was a noticeably good quality of green tea he was using which I appreciated most.
- It actually tasted like green tea and not artificial powders and it was quite aromatic, but not bitter or too sweet at all.
- If you like this I’d also recommend the Matcha Okinawa Shortbread from Cake-Ya.
- Diamant Vanilla – 4/6
- This one had the best texture for some reason and I don’t know why. It was incredibly light and just melted in my mouth. The others didn’t melt like this one did.
- It tasted more like a buttery sugar cookie than it did like vanilla, and I could have used more vanilla bean seeds because I couldn’t really see, smell or taste any.
- The cookies were still delicious despite the lack of vanilla flavour though.
- **Diamant Espresso – 5/6
- This had the most flavour of all and I liked it the best and I’m not even a huge espresso lover in desserts, but I do like it.
- It was the perfect balance of sweet and a bit bitter and the espresso quality was wonderful and almost chocolaty and nutty.
- Along with the sugar crystals from the cookie the roughly ground espresso beans added more crispiness to it, which was great.
- The espresso is the perfect amount as to not overpower the delicate character of the cookie.
- **Diamant Chocolate – 4.5/6
- This cookie was very soft and tender and the texture was just as stand out as the vanilla one, and I don’t know why again.
- It wasn’t too sweet at all, but rich with good quality bittersweet chocolate and the flavour was obvious which I liked.
- It had a full chocolate flavour, but it wasn’t bitter and then it had a dollop of soft chocolate in the centre which was a great touch.
- Diamant Lemon Ginger – 3/6
- This one just tasted like a plain sugary shortbread cookie at first and the lemon and ginger flavours didn’t come until the very end.
- There wasn’t much of a lemony tang or zest and the ginger was very mild and the spice and warmth didn’t kick in until after the cookie was finished.
- There was no candied ginger I could bite into. I think it was just ginger powder and it wasn’t spicy.
- I think I would have a hard time figuring out the flavour if I didn’t know what it was.
- It was surprising since the Gluten Free Marzipan Ginger Cookies were so strong. I prefer those ones.
- Diamant Lavender – 3.5/6
- It had a bit more of a crunch and it was infused with lavender flavour, but there were no actual lavender flowers and it was very mild.
- It almost had a milky lavender flavour and a hint of vanilla would have helped develop it.
- I love lavender so I like stronger lavender flavours, but even so, this one would still be considered very faint.
- If you like tea flavoured cookies, these Earl Grey Tea Cookies from Tealips Bubble Tea & Coffee are also very good.