I grew up in the kitchen of Maize’s, my parent’s restaurant in northern Ontario.
From our restaurant we sold bait, ran a taxi service, a gas station, an arcade and were the
main stop for incoming greyhound buses, but first and foremost there was food!
I did my homework and ate all of my meals either at the counter with the costumers or in the busy restaurant kitchen. That’s also where I had the most adventure!
When my parents were out making deliveries, the cooks would often let me have run of the kitchen. I would mix pineapple, butter, sugar, olives... anything I could find, and stuff it into pizza dough. The cooks would then put my creations into the 700 degree pizza oven.
While my creations were cooking, I make tables out of milk crates, complete with linen and candles. I would serve my friends and family my creations at my tiny “restaurant”. I was 8.
I was mesmerized and fascinated when I first glanced at ribbon candy when I was little, But it was in 1986, at the “Oldest Sweet Shop in the World” in Pately Bridge where I fell in love with sweets. The glass jars filled with candy was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
In 2009 I registered my business, Candy Cloud Confections. The search for unique ingredients led me to Niagara Essential Oils and Blends. It wasn’t long before I was creating a line of lavender indulgences-‐ cookies, spiced almonds, sponge toffee meringues... all using lavender. I loved the process of working with such a delicate yet bold ingredient.
Niagara Restaurant Vegan Challenge
I made the switch to a plant based diet in the same year, 2009
I quickly became aware of the disconnect between what we are producing in the region and what we are eating as a community. We are known for our produce yet we are drowning in fast food and meat-‐laden meals.
I put out the invitation to Niagara restaurants to create a one-‐night Vegan dinner. The response from the public was amazing. People were excited and ready for a change.
The restaurants, which served amazing food to begin with, did not disappoint. We were so spoiled! Everyone was pleased when one venue announced they would permanently offer the meals they had served during the challenge! We couldn’t ask for more!