An Edible Showcase of Creativity and Self-expression

Emelle’s helps a young baker to craft memorable experiences for seasoned Vancouver foodies through the creation of artistically exquisite desserts and pastries.

Featuring: Melissa Cameron | Pastry Chef, Emelle’s Catering

Every day, Melissa Cameron goes to work and does what the child in all of us would love to do—play with her food. The young baker approached Emelle’s Catering five and a half years ago. She’d been working in the restaurant industry and was eager to expand her horizons, to show off her skills and her style. Her first days at Emelle’s were spent baking cookies and squares, but it didn’t take her long to make an impression. Today, she’s the pastry chef and is tasked with making phenomenally elaborate desserts for Emelle’s catering clients.

Though progress is being made, in the largely male-dominated restaurant industry, women more commonly occupy supporting roles in the kitchen. For Melissa, running her own department has been a welcome change of pace.

The company is owned by women, run by women and, in my department, I have my own say over what I do,” she says proudly.

“When Melissa joined us, the pastry department became an actual department,” says Mary Lee Newnham, CEO and Executive Chef at Emelle’s, and the department is driven by Melissa’s love for her work. “I love the beauty of pastry and its presentation,” Melissa says. “I consider myself really lucky. I get to come here and be creative and make the things that are in my mind. I love that. That’s my art, and I get to do it all the time.”

As far as food art goes, Vancouver is a competitive place for artists like Melissa. Renowned as a foodie haven, the city’s restaurant ecosystem is vast and diverse, dishing up everything from West Coast seafood to fusion fare to authentic ethnic cuisines from all corners of the world. Standing out requires more than creativity. When there’s good food on every corner, it’s the experience that counts.

The experience is what makes weddings Melissa’s favourite type of event to cater. Expectations for these events are high, as is the level of artistry required. Each and every item presented at a wedding has to be immaculate and align with the vision that the couple has for their special day. As both a coveted centrepiece and a ceremonial item, wedding cakes must be exquisite to look at and delicious to devour (or smear across the groom’s face).

On these occasions, Melissa takes her time. She relishes the fun of sorting out every detail. From the taste and texture to the aroma and the visual presentation, nothing is overlooked. Doing her best is a point of pride, but also a commitment because, says Melissa, “I’m making something that will be a big deal on someone’s most important day.”

Working with Emelle’s to help create memorable experiences has been a real joy for Melissa, and seeing her hard work pay off is always a special moment. “When you see a set-up of platters on the table covered with your own little art pieces, that’s pretty cool.”