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Follow Me Foodie and Creme de la Crumb re-invent the latte for the holiday season.
Followmefoodie’s cinnamon bun latte at Creme de la Crumb
Mijune Pak loves food, she loves to eat; not something you’d surmise from looking at the slim Vancouver entrepreneuse.
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Eighteen months ago Mijune set up FollowMeFoodie.com, a local food and restaurant review blog, as a way of helping everyone relate to and enjoy Vancouver’s inspirational culinary scene and talented chefs. Since then Follow Me Foodie has grown and evolved to create food and drinks of its own.
Mijune admits to having had an early inclination toward business; she started a massage business in Grade 3, charging five cents a minute.
“I’d even have sales for 4 cents a minute. My sister was my only client,” she says. “Child labour. I did it for a couple years too and I never even increased my prices!”
Mijune Pak of Follow Me Foodie
(Image: Three Sixty Photography)
In November, Mijune launched Follow Me Foodie Christmas gelato flavours at Bella Gelateria on Burrard and West Cordova. Indicative of her approach to food and the community, Mijune says, “I created gelato flavours, set up a voting poll and had people vote on their favourite flavour on my site. I really wanted the public to have input on the flavours I was going to put out.”
The launch went well and Follow Me Foodie’s new flavours—Maple Cinnamon Creme Brulee, Pistachio and Cranberry Pound Cake, Honey Graham Cracker and Caramelized Marshmallow—found a very appreciative crowd.
After the launch, one of @followmefoodie‘s tweeps started talking on Twitter about Serendipity‘s Frozen Hot Chocolate in New York, pulling Mijune into the discussion. The mob wanted more, and they wanted it in Vancouver. They looked to
Follow Me Foodie to make it happen.
“I haven’t even tried this frozen hot chocolate yet, so it was a challenge I was a bit nervous taking on,” says Mijune.
“I did something similar with the gelatos already. I did research on it and talked to people about the taste and flavour to ensure I could replicate it. I hate disappointing anyone that supports my blog and what I do so I wanted to show my dedication and appreciation by making it happen. I was really excited to do it, but I wanted to make sure there was enough of a demand for it.”
Not content with a mere recreation of Serendipity’s idea, Mijune set about creating her own holiday drink creations as well; replicating the technique she had successfully employed in making the gelato, involving the public in the decision-making process.
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“I pretty much had a few days to create the drinks, set up the voting process and then figure out how to get them on the market. I started thinking of winter/holiday drinks and I would literally wake myself up in the middle of the night from dreaming of flavours and combinations.
Mijune rarely uses recipes, instead using her imagination to decide what flavours might go together.
“I knew I had to use seasonal ingredients and flavours, and I honestly had no recipes for the drinks I created until the voting was over. I wanted something original, still very me and uniquely Follow Me Foodie.”
Since she already had a chocolate drink she knew she had develop other drinks. So she developed a caffeine-free drink—the pear and almond “matte,” which is her word for a mock latte—and the last-minute cinnamon bun latte.
Playing in the kitchen with Lydia, part owner and creative cook of Creme de la Crumb, Mijune was fed up trying to push a mediocre third drink out just for the sake of it.
“I was ready to settle for just two drinks,” she admits, “but then I walked past her baked goods counter and saw her delicious cinnamon buns. I started creating the recipe right on the spot. I randomly combined ingredients and it actually only took about five tries to nail the recipe.”
Follow Me Foodie Winter/Holiday drinks are available exclusively at Creme de la Crumb from December 20, 2010, to the end of February. The Frozen Hot Chocolate is only available at the Hamilton location.