Posts Tagged ‘best’

Diplomat Bakery

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-1Sweet Masterpieces Aplenty.

The baked goods look so tantalizing it is hard to know where to begin when you peek inside Diplomat Bakery’s glass display case laden with cakes and treats.

Do you choose a cinnamon bun, croissant, square or a slice of cake? Maybe you have a friend along to share tastes with, or perhaps you should select a cake to take home?

Whatever you decide, you know it’s going to be a guaranteed winner as no corners are cut or expense is spared on ingredients; real cream, butter and Belgian chocolate are all used to create these European style temptations.Mark Stenson Gerald StensonDiplomat Bakery is very much a family affair. Gerald Stenson, his wife Elizabeth and their son Mark are all actively involved in running the business. Their daughter Adele is a nurse and is a keen supporter of the family enterprise. She has played a key role in customer service and now helps contribute to product research and development.

Gerald is the pastry chef and Elizabeth is the bookkeeper. She holds a degree in food service administration and has financial accounting experience. Gerald adds fondly, “She’s a very integral behind-the-scenes part of the business.”

Mark has been helping out at the bakery since he was so small that he needed a box to stand on at the cash register. Now, with a diploma in accounting and a BBA degree in marketing under his belt, he assists with operations and marketing and is playing an active role in taking the business to the next level. He is very interested in product development and is proud of the success of introducing a seven-inch variation of their traditional nine-inch cake. He says, “Customers have responded well to this addition.”

The well-loved bakery recently reopened at their beautiful new location at London Station.

Situated across the street from their former London Road site, the new space is much more visible as the storefront is set closer to the street. In a smart business move, the Stensons purchased the space. It is slightly smaller than their previous location and conjures up memories of their original Steveston village shop on Moncton Street, which was in operation from 1994 to 2007.

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-2Their goal was to create a storefront as classy as the cakes for which they are known. They credit designer Lorraine Ilich for her assistance. Along the front window they have incorporated a twenty-foot counter made of stone with seating for customers to enjoy their coffee and treats and do a little people watching. A rolling garage door on the east side of the bakery will open during the summer months and there is plenty of space for outdoor patio seating.

“We were able to design the space from scratch and dress it up.” Mark Stenson

Aware that Diplomat Bakery is the only place to purchase coffee in the London Station area, they have stepped up their coffee service with a new espresso machine and have introduced locally roasted coffee by Oughtred Roasting Works. Their staff has been trained to make coffee to satisfy connoisseurs. Speciality drinks such as London Fog and chai lattes share the menu with favourite coffee standards.

Customers stop in to shop for their baked goods, and others pass by for a coffee and a treat en route to or from a walk or bike ride along the south dyke.

Gerald has been creating sweet masterpieces for Diplomat Bakery since it first opened in 1994.

Originally from Ireland, he has a lilt of an Irish accent that has morphed from time spent working as a pastry chef for Sheraton and Hilton hotels in Africa, Australia, Malaysia and the Middle East. He also worked in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Twenty-five years ago he moved to Canada with his wife Elizabeth and their two small children.

When Gerald arrived in Vancouver he discovered he was overqualified and had a hard time finding work. He worked in airline catering and then tried his hand at going into business wholesaling baked goods. He began by giving out samples of his delicious pastries and cakes to restaurants and he was on his way – they were hooked.

At one point, before Costco had their own in house bakery, Diplomat Bakery supplied three Costco locations as well as G.M. Place arena (they supplied the Canucks and Grizzlies teams and some special events). Gerald recalls creating a special rose dessert for Bette Midler in honour of her popular song.

After wholesaling got to be a bit much he decided to branch into retail. The business name came from a hotel Gerald and Elizabeth visited while they were working in Bahrain. Gerald explains, “We always felt Diplomat would be a nice name for a company. Also, we really enjoyed our time there and the staff were very kind.”

“I wake up in the morning and love going to work.” Gerald Stenson

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-3Diplomat Bakery has earned a reputation for its excellent cakes. Gerald lists the Diplomat, Red Velvet, Tiramisu and Triple Chocolate cakes as perennial favourites. Mark points out, “The tastes are true to their origin.” He remembers a customer saying, “This is what a Black Forest cake should taste like.”

They have regular customers who come for their chocolate fix. Some travel in from North Vancouver and Tsawwassen to visit their favourite bakery. Gerald recalls customers ordering cakes to take to Vancouver Island, across the border and even as far away as Hong Kong. He says, “We are very flattered people want to do that.”

Christmas is always a special time at Diplomat Bakery as seasonal goodies make their debut. Inside the display case you will find their popular three-inch mince pies, four varieties of tarts (almond, butter, coconut and pecan), stollen, shortbread (boxed makes a nice gift), gingerbread men (for kids of every size) and Yule logs.

This holiday season consider taking some of the pressure off and leave some of the baking to the experts at Diplomat Bakery.

Diplomat Bakery
6168 London Road
Richmond, BC V7E 3S3
Telephone: 604-241-9134
www.diplomatbakery.com

Ora Sushi Japanese Grill

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Quality Sushi Made With Love

Ora_Sushi_June2_Steveston_Palla_MediaOra is the Korean word for “come again, or welcome” and it is the perfect name for this new Moncton Street restaurant. Ora Sushi owner June Shim personifies the business name with her welcoming and gracious manner.

After an extensive floor to ceiling renovation Ora Sushi opened in early August and the response has been tremendous.

Shim is no stranger to restaurant ownership. Customers who were familiar with her former business, Kimchi Nara Korean BBQ, are delighted to discover she has embarked on a new venture. She operated Kimchi Nara Korean BBQ in downtown Richmond for 10 years. Subsequently, she worked as a manager of a local sushi restaurant for three years and then decided it was time to return to her favourite place, the kitchen, and run her own business.

Past clients are delighted that she has opened a new restaurant. Ora Sushi has also established a new and enthusiastic clientele who are discovering why her cooking has earned such an excellent reputation.

Her passion for food and her culinary talent stems from having grown up in the food industry. She reveals her mother is also an amazing cook and her parents owned a restaurant in Korea. Shim loves to garden and grows many different kinds of Korean herbs and vegetables in her backyard.

She feels extremely happy when she cooks and derives joy from meeting customers. Regarding owning her business she says, “It is a much more satisfying personal stake.”

Locals and visitors alike are discovering Ora Sushi’s tasty and artfully presented dishes.

This new enterprise is a detour from her former Korean BBQ as sushi takes the spotlight on the menu. All of the sauces are made in house. Quality is of utmost importance to her. She insists on using only wild caught Pacific salmon and red tuna and she begins each day by visiting local vegetable markets to select produce.

Ora_Sushi_Roll1_Steveston_Palla_MediaThe Nori (seaweed) is premium quality without the use of coatings or artificial preservatives. Ora Sushi uses premium Japanese sushi rice, low sodium soya sauce, and natural ginger. Some gluten free dishes are offered. In addition to a focus on health conscious food, Ora Sushi strives to provide a friendly, welcoming, personal dining experience.

She says, “I am always thinking about cooking and the presentation of food.”

Presentation is most certainly a huge part of the Ora Sushi experience. All selections are artfully arranged on Villeroy and Boch German porcelain and on unique Japanese serving plates.

Ora_Sushi_Roll2_Steveston_Palla_MediaFun names for some of the signature special rolls include the Crazy Roll, Mr. Big Roll, Monster Bite and 911. Speaking of the Crazy Roll, it is crazy good. I have not been able to stop thinking about this delicious, crispy, warm signature California roll with its three sauces.

Another highly recommended specialty, the Golden Roll, is cooked in a cast iron pan and is comprised of avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, baked salmon and tobiko with cheese on top.

If you are a sushi novice the Caterpillar Roll as a good place to begin. It contains asparagus, imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber with sliced avocado.
The extensive menu offers a large selection of appetizers such as Chicken Yakatori, Grilled Mussels, “Monkey Brain” (deep fried avocado with crab meat), Oyster Motoyaki (grilled oysters with veggies, mayo and cheese) and Ebi Gyoza.

Ora_Sushi_Roll3_Steveston_Palla_MediaThe menu features a few favourites from her past business such as Bibimbap, Kalbi BBQ beef and Udon. Maki sushi, sashimi, nigiri sushi and noodle dishes round out the extensive menu. Bento boxes and set lunches and dinners are also featured.

Shim and her husband, local RE/MAX realtor Kevin McDowell, met in Korea in 1992 and have lived in Richmond since 1997. They have two grown children, one is finishing high school, and the other is attending university. Both their son and daughter work at the business part-time.

Although fully immersed in her new business she still finds time to be actively involved with the two churches her family attends. The family belongs to the Korean Jireh Presbyterian Church in Vancouver and also Trinity Lutheran Church in Richmond. She regularly donates her time to the Korean fellowship committee that provides hot lunches on a weekly basis. She says, “Food is a part of my life and I like making people happy.”

The response from local merchants has been tremendous; neighbouring business owners regularly pop in to order lunch to go.

Ora_Sushi_street_sign_StevestonThe holiday season will soon be here. If you are entertaining at home consider impressing your guests with an Ora Sushi party tray. Open six days a week for lunch and dinner (consult the website for hours), this Steveston newcomer deserves a big welcome – and an even bigger thank you for choosing the village to set up shop!

Ora Sushi Japanese Grill
120-3651 Moncton St
Richmond BC V7E 3A5
Telephone: 604-284-3880
www.orasushi.com

Best Scarecrow

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Steveston Scarecrow Crawl winners announcement!

First place:  Pieces

Prize awarded by Richmond Review newspaper.

Second place winner: Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant

Prize awarded by Steveston Insider magazine.