As Told by Corinne Babchishin, Owner
For the longest time I’ve tried to find a path, just as with everyone else. For most of my youth, I believed that path to be Science. One Bachelor’s and one Master’s later, I found I was not happy. The time I spent working in a laboratory had become more of a dreaded chore than a calling.
I’ve always thought it amazing how the simplest of things will trigger memories from our past; a sound, a smell, a taste. One of my fondest memories as a child is in the kitchen, baking with my mother and grandmother. Making cookies or truffles wasn’t just a ritual, it was also an excuse to spend time with those I loved. Enjoying a tasty treat afterwards was an added bonus.
Food serves to nourish our body and ensure our survival. Yet, food is so much more than that. Food, or more specifically baking, can be a form of expression, an outlet for creativity. Some of us paint, some sculpt, others, such as myself, bake. I find I can say more by giving a plate of warm cookies to a friend in need than I ever can with words alone.
Honestly, I had never thought of baking as a career option. Yet, with the encouragement of my husband, I enrolled in the Culinary Management program at Humber College in Toronto. Upon graduation, my husband and I returned to our roots in Ottawa and I spent the next eight years working as a baker, learning and honing my skills.
Thinking back to my childhood, my parents rarely allowed their children to consume processed treats. To them, it was important we grow up eating home-made foods, but, on occasion, they would relent after unceasing pestering from my siblings and myself. Together we would go to the grocery store and soon we returned home with a box of cookies, a bag of potato chips or even a box of sugary cereal.
I won’t lie, when faced with these very infrequent treats, my siblings and I became wild. It was a race to the finish; who could sneak the most cookies or sugary cereal into their bellies. At times, my parents were astonished at how quickly a big box of processed treats would disappear. We had no choice. We had to get the largest fix possible because it would be months before the next opportunity would arise. No matter who you are, processed foods will always leave you wanting. The body craves sugar, salt and fats. If you put the right amount in any product, people will love it.
The trouble is, as I discovered during those sneaky eating races of my youth, after consuming processed cookies you don’t feel as satisfied as when having eaten a homemade cookie. The taste and the mouth feel are never quite as amazing as a freshly baked treat made with real ingredients.
A box of mass-produced cookies is designed by food scientists to achieve a profitable shelf-life, and then is produced by industrialized machines. We can’t say “Those are the hands that assembled this cookie” or “I can easily list its ingredients and their role”. With processed baking, there is a level of detachment from our food which doesn’t exist in handmade baking.
For this reason, I envisioned a bakeshop offering all our childhood favourites made healthier, tastier and with a sophisticated twist. A bakery delivering handmade goods that recreate the warm feeling of eating a treat lovingly crafted by a cherished one.
Sweetcheeks and Cookie-Dough accomplishes this through handmade small batches, using true quality ingredients, not cutting corners and placing importance on taste. Moreover, Sweetcheeks and Cookie-dough uses creativity and playfulness to add whimsy to traditional desserts.