Back in 2008, I heard of this delectable blueberry scone that was revered as one of the city’s finest at The Drake Hotel. And indeed, the flaky-buttery treat lived up to expectations. This discovery lead me to its talented maker, Executive Pastry Chef David Chow.

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David Chow

Fast forward a few years and since his tenure at the Queen Street West outpost, his creations have taken him to Albany Luxury Resort and Trump International Hotel & Tower in Toronto where he’s refined and evolved his pastry and chocolate craft.

Today his top shelf treats can be found at the {eat}ery, Stasis Preserves, Wallace & Co, Pilot Coffee Roasters, and now at All The Best Fine Foods in both their Yonge/Summerhill and Church/ Wellesley locations. His sweet empire includes a line of fine classic chocolate, coated dragées, shortbread, and cookie bars.

The celebratory evening at the store had no shortage of artisan alchemy. Interestingly enough, the air of creativity was being generated by the attendees and not the pastry chef himself. Donning our Willy Wonka hats, it was an exploration (albeit the tip of the iceberg for us) into the complex nature of working with the silky, sweet stuff– in that we got to create our very own chocolate bar. In addition to the three types of Valrhona Chocolate we could choose from (32% Dulcey, 46% Bahibe, 64% Manjari), we also got to add spices, fruits, and nuts to our creation– if we so desired.

Our edible experiment allowed me to appreciate much of what Chef Chow must consider when he’s developing his products. For him, it’s about curating local, quality ingredients to integrate into his creations– for instance, items such as the coffee beans from Sense Appeal for his elegant Espresso Crunch Bar. His attentiveness to unique flavour profiles and collaborations with local food purveyors is what he considers key factors that make his line standout from the competition.

I asked Chef David what he’d recommend to those new to his product line. He suggested the Caramel Bar: a soft buttery chew with flecks of local rosemary and finished with maldon salt; a perfect interplay of sweet and savoury. It’s something that many ‘food-inclined’ individuals are drawn to these days when it comes to desserts.

With a bevy of varying textures, flavours, and taste intensity, I felt like Jackson Pollack with my chocolate bar in the making; I smashed, shattered and drizzled my creation (Freeze-dried tangerines! Aleppo pepper!) into the shallow molds that chef provided us with along with the tempered Valrhona chocolate. In the end, my Frankensteinian creation was actually quite delicious (imho). And, in a bout of ‘friendly’ competition, it will be pitted against the other bars made that evening. The winner will be chosen by Chef Chow and featured in store as an exclusive creation.

While we’re waiting for the results, in the meantime, satisfy your sweet tooth and visit your closest All the Best Fine Foods for Chef David Chow’s delightful and innovative fare.

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