Let There Be Donuts: The Roundtable Preview

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One of my best days of last summer consisted of a few simple components: a few friends and I rode our bikes to Cartems Donuterie, got two boxes, (including one of each vegan flavour), and continued on to Crab Park. We spent the day in the sun eating donuts, and we finished each and every one. To truly make a day like that stand out, you need to start with a different kind of donut. Enter- Cartems.

Cartems is Vancouver’s local donuterie, featuring locally-sourced ingredients, vegan options, gluten-free options, and a variety of flavours you surely won’t get from your typical Tim Horton’s venture. Recently, Cartems moved into its first bakery/cafe on West Pender, after splitting production between Carrall St, and the Woodland Smokehouse and Commissary.

On Wednesday, January 29, The Vegan Project will be hosting (yes, it now exists) a donut roundtable. Local foodies Erin Ireland and The Food Gays will be joining us to sample the delicacies of Cartems Donuterie: current existing flavors, potential future ones, and donuts made with a wide variety of new, vegan ingredients. The roundtable and our subsequent “results” will be on The Vegan Project in future features, but before we get down to business, meet Rags Narine, one half of the duo behind Cartems.

Z: Tell us a bit about the history of Cartems. Where did it come from?

Cartems started with a dream from my business partner Jordan Cash, who had the dream in 2002 when living in Korea. He came to me in 2011 and asked if I wanted to be a part of it, and I said yes in an instant.

Z: As the main man behind the donuts, tell us a bit about yourself. Where have you cooked before?

I would not consider myself the main man, but one part of a collective of bright and creative people. My previous work experience for making donuts was that I was the pastry chef at Calabash Bistro for two and half years.

Z: Were there plans to have “alternative” donut options (vegan, gluten-free) from the beginning?

We had always planned on making alternative donuts, right from day one. The recipe making process came from months of research and trial and error. A lot of trial and error. Many hours were spent making these recipes for vegan and gluten free, then making a vegan gluten free donut came easier after that long process.

Z: What was the process like developing those recipes? What kinds of challenges came up in the kitchen?

We had always planned on making alternative donuts, right from day one. The recipe making process came from months of research and trial and error. A lot of trial and error. Many hours were spent making these recipes for vegan and gluten free, then making a vegan gluten free donut came easier after that long process.

Z: What has the response from the vegan community been?

The response from the vegan community has been very positive and humbling. We try very hard to produce a donut that we can be happy with. I have spent countless hours making and refining, but that is the fun part! I also had a chance to be on a vegan cooking show called Sylvia’s Vegan Kitchen, and we made raw vegan donuts, which was so much fun! I am really happy that we make a product that vegans and eat and enjoy.

Photo by Stephen Hui

Photo by Stephen Hui

Z:  At this time, how would you respond to someone who says that vegan baking can’t compare WHATSOEVER to baking with butter, eggs, cheese, milk, and so forth?

Those who say that vegan cooking and baking cannot compare to traditional methods are really uneducated. There are many amazing things that can be created using vegan baking, and I would be glad to show people that it can be done! I constantly challenge people who say that vegan baking is gross to try something that we made. The response is very positive.

Z: What would you say about the options for vegans in Vancouver? Specifically the dessert options?

The city of Vancouver has many solid options for vegans, but I think that we can have more. There should be way more for vegans for desserts in this city than a plate of fruit!

Z: What’s your favourite flavour?

My favourite flavour is raspberry. Hands down.

Z: What are you thoughts moving forward? What does the future hold for Cartems?

We have huge plans moving forward for the next 3 years. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to find out!

 

Tune into The Vegan Project on Wednesday for photos and tweets as the donut roundtable ensues! Stay tuned for a full report post-feast.

-Zoe-

e.  zoe@theveganproject.ca

ig. @zoemarg

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