Lindsay Rousseau, and her husband David, are the owners of Ollia Macarons & Tea, a modern bakery with a classic French vibe that’s bringing a “very special oh lá lá” to lower Mount Royal, sans the Champs-Élysées (the famed Parisian avenue). “We want it to be comfortable and accessible,” Lindsay said, “Ollia is for everyone.” Lindsay and David have been collaborating with Leftovers for four years and have been taking part in the Anew upcycling program for the past four months. Ollia created chocolate, cookie sandwiches with repurposed toffee from Sweetsmith Candy Co., through Anew four months ago, and is also using donated pretzels to create white-chocolate dipped pretzels for the Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids charity. Lindsay said that Anew “creates a stronger business overall when your customers are not just invested in your product, but as in you as a company and what values you operate with.”
Deidre Lotecki is the pastry chef and owner of Sweet Relief Pastries, an eclectic, colourful bakery in Victoria Park, that focuses on wedding cakes, cake-by-the-slice, and cakelettes (mini cakes for two to four people). When Deidre opened Sweet Relief, she had been concerned about food waste because new bakeries, often, don’t know how much they should produce – which led her to Leftovers. Leftovers is “super easy to work with,” Deidre said, “[volunteers] were happy to come pick up our leftovers…and bring it to the people who really need it which is amazing.” Deidre likes collaborating with local charities because it offers her a chance to connect with people in her community. “I feel like everyone has their own experiences,” Deidre said, “sometimes people have gone through things that you haven’t, and they’re always there to help; especially people in Calgary.” Deidre baked rhubarb cake-by-the-slice, filled with rhubarb compote, with locally donated rhubarb through Anew. Leftovers has impacted Sweet Relief by bringing in conscious consumers, who value their charitable nature – “Our community is everything,” Deidre said, “we want to get out and be a part of it and support them, because they support us and it makes all the difference in the world for our business.”
Sheryl Yu is the baker and owner of Hello Mochi, a market-based bakery at the Bountiful Farmers’ Market in South Edmonton, that specializes in vegan and gluten-free mochi donuts, ice cream and macarons. Hello Mochi’s business plan aligned perfectly with Leftovers’ vision. Sheryl strongly believes in food security and tries to not make more product than she needs – despite how some vendors have insisted that she is losing money by not overproducing. “Vendors come up to me and say you’re leaving money on the table…you should just make more than you can sell and throw the rest out” Sheryl said, “but that’s my heart, it’s what I make, and it doesn’t make sense to me.” Hello Mochi will be using pretzels, donated through Anew, to bake chocolate, mochi donuts with caramelized pretzels on top for the Bountiful Market during the weekend of July 17th to the 19th.
Sophia Tang is the founder and CEO of coRISE, an upcycling organization based in Calgary that supports sustainable food systems, pet companionship programs, and mental health programs. “Growing up as an immigrant in Canada…food waste was never an option for us,” Sophia said, “I’m dedicated to food upcycling because there is so much waste out there.” CoRISE just celebrated their first birthday and have been collaborating with Anew since April. Sophia took near-end-of-life, beefsteak tomatoes from Anew and has sun-dried them to create healthy, snack-worthy crackers. CoRISE also works with local breweries by upcycling their spent grain. CoRISE’s “almond cream ale cookies” are made from chopped almonds, upcycled from (the now-defunct) Planet Organic, and spent grain. “I remember my grandpa telling me to be compassionate and grateful for the food you have on your table,” Sophia said, “a single grain of rice took somebody effort, time, and backbreaking labour to grow…so never take it for granted.” Sophia is optimistic that upcycling programs will influence people in our communities to support charities and waste less food at home. The sun-dried tomato crackers and cookies are available at Blush Lane Organic Market in Calgary and Edmonton.
Ben Rix is a brewer and the co-owner of Bent Stick Brewing, an Edmonton based nano-brewery that’s mashing and boiling unique brews like salted citrus pale ales and mixed fermentation saisons. The 1,700 sq. ft. brewery is an essential industrial bay in Edmonton’s back yard. “We’ve been out here for four years now, and we’ve made a lot of friends,” Ben said, “we’re the only [brewery] on Fort Road and people are excited that we’re here.” Bent Stick is the newest Anew member and they’re bringing their peculiar taste to upcycling – with a not-quite-beer kvass they’ve called “Roll Together.” The kvass, a traditional Eastern-European fermentation made with black bread, is brewed with bread rolls donated through Anew and the Leftovers Foundation. It’s about “the local feel-goods,” Ben said, “people like supporting businesses that support our local community…we’re just four people from Edmonton, and we see the positive effects from charities.