One of the most frequent questions that I get asked is where I get my inspiration for chocolate flavours. The answer is all around me.

After finishing my culinary schools externship, I pursued a job at Jamie Kennedy Kitchens because it was the most well-known restaurant in Toronto to learn to cook through the seasons of Ontario. I was already a shopper at my local farmer's market thanks to my mom. Then the preserving bug hit me and I was making jams and pickles on the hottest days of the summer because the markets were bursting with produce.

I've taken what I learned working with Chef Kennedy and the products I was introduced to and applied it to chocolate. Cacao will never grown in North America because it is too cold, but whenever possible I try to incorporate local ingredients to flavour chocolate at DWN. This photo is of the lilacs that grow in my backyard and are currently drying out in the factory. The dried flowers will be infused into cocoa butter, which will be the foundation of the lilac and bee pollen bar (the bee pollen happens to be from Orillia Honey). I buy rhubarb from a lovely woman in Warminster to make the rhubar. The staghorn sumac used in the strawberry sumac bar is harvested at the end of summer from a secret location in Orillia. There is a new release on the horizon that incorporates spruce tips. There are so many ingredients all around and we just have to look for them. Thanks for taking this journey with me.