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Epicurious

Feeding Whistler’s sweet tooth

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Early morning sunlight streams through the windows of the little café, nestled in an unlikely spot; Rosalind’s Pastry Shop is a hidden gem amongst the garages, workshops and industrial crews of Function Junction. In the span of mere minutes, a construction worker comes looking for a particularly delicious bar he’d had months before, and a local artist wanders in for his morning caffeine fix (toting his own mug, of course).

The shop is owned and operated by Roz Maclean, a long-time fixture on Whistler’s dining scene.

You see, long before Maclean launched her own business, crafting her trademarked cakes and sweet treats for weddings, birthdays and special events throughout the Sea to Sky corridor, she was the mastermind behind the dessert menu at one of Whistler’s most popular fine dining hotspots, Araxi. She worked as the pastry chef in the kitchen there for almost 13 years, growing with the restaurant as it evolved from a burgers and calamari restaurant to the acclaimed gastronomic hotspot it is today.

Maclean finally decided it was time to strike out on her own, and began creating gourmet goodies out of her home garage in Pemberton.

“It had always been in the back of my mind, but it’s always a little bit scary,” she admitted, sipping a cappuccino.

Since Maclean had been a fixture on the dining scene for such a long time, she had developed a strong network of connections with other restaurants in town, and her business took off quickly. Over eight years, the business has had its ups and downs along with the local economy, but Roz has remained the reputable go-to gal for loads of local restaurants and coffee shops who contract their dessert needs out to her for convenience and, quite simply, quality.

“I am all these little places’ pastry chef. They don’t ever have to worry about looking for a new pastry chef, I am that pastry chef,” she said. Quickly adding, “Well, me and my staff.”

Now, the business has blossomed to the point where Maclean supplies about half of Whistler’s restaurants and cafes with their cakes, squares and other desserts. Clearly, she’d outgrown her home workshop, so back in December she opened her production kitchen in Function. And a few months later, she opened the front doors to the café, welcoming in the hordes of workers who call Function home during the workweek. The shop is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

They change up the menu regularly, incorporating fresh, local fruits and produce as much as possible, never skimping on quality basic baking ingredients — butter, cream, sugar and gourmet chocolate.

They’ve become well known in this neck of the woods for their fresh-baked daily coffee cakes, cookies, and sumptuous desserts, which are served alongside their gourmet coffee. The coffee, in particular, has created quite a stir, and for good reason — the beans are supplied by 49 th Parallel Coffee Roasters, the baristas are sent for training with the artisianal coffee company, and finally, the delicious drinks are served in mugs that were specially designed for the shop by local potter, Meg Gallup.

“We already have the reputation as the best coffee in Whistler, so I’m really pleased with that.”

It’s evident that, for this local businesswoman, it’s all about detail and quality.

To-go desserts are served with the appropriate sauce — raspberry coulis, chocolate ganache… you get the picture.

And with 25 years of training and experience under her chef’s cap, Maclean can offer up just about anything under the sun. She even has European clients who come in and request international specialty desserts.

Custom-ordered cakes are still a big part of the business — Maclean and her talented team regularly create breathtaking, intricate multi-tiered towers for weddings and whimsical original designs for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

In fact, now that she has five staff members, Roz is able to take on more creative projects, like a mountain-shaped cake they created just last week.

A quick glance through the photo gallery on Maclean’s website, www.rosalindsdesserts.com , shows a vast array of the cakes she’s created.

When she bought the space in Function, she had always envisioned including a small storefront space.

“I always wanted to sell desserts and birthday cakes out of here, for sure,” she said.

Now, she’s focusing on finding a way to draw more tourist traffic, and become a stop for weekend warriors as they make their way to Whistler, picking up their sweet supply for Saturday and Sunday.

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