For Matthias Lexow, running a bakery is a true labour of love.
He begins work at 2 a.m. almost every day to start kneading dough, whisking custards, stirring ganache and mixing soup stock as part of a fresh spread of pastries, bread and soups for Telkwa residents to enjoy.
He works throughout the day, both at the counter and behind the scenes, serving customers and baking more pastries.
Then around 8 a.m., he’ll pack up and go home and get some rest before he does the same thing over again the next day.
“It’s a part of the job and I like my job,” said Lexow. “It’s routine — I start with cinnamon buns and pastries and then bread. But the morning hours are nice because there’s no interruptions, everyone is still sleeping . . . It never gets boring.”
Lexow is the co-owner and operator of Telkwa Baeckerei Kaffeehaus, also known as the Telkwa Bakery.
The bakery is located just off Highway 16 on Madison Avenue, and features a wide variety of freshly-baked croissants, bread, cinnamon buns, danishes, muffins, cakes sandwiches, bread, salads, soups and fair trade coffee all made from scratch daily with local ingredients and no additives.
Lexow has always been a firm believer of producing quality goods from what he calls “clean” products.
“The problem is today, many people have allergies and it’s caused by all these additives,” he said. “If you’re using a powdered base, there’s so many additives in there . . . it’s always better to make everything yourself.”
With treats made using less sugar and more vanilla, chocolate and nuts to enhance the flavour, the European-style bakery has flourished in the village.
Most recently, the shop was awarded the Telkwa Leadership Business Award with a slim victory over Kimberley’s Kitchen and Art & Soul Pottery in this year’s race.
“I’m very flattered that my little business gets this attention,” said Lexow, adding that he believes it is the organic products that draws people from all over northwest B.C.
“Our products are real, real ingredients, real people. There is a lot of energy, we don’t compromise. We do our own thing and we create something that we are happy with and our customers appreciate it,” he said. “People know us and they pre-order when they drive through. It’s nice.”
Lexow has always been an avid baker.
He became a pastry chef in Germany before immigrating to Canada in 1997 and even ran a series of similar bakeries, coffee houses, restaurants and health food stores in the Yukon before eventually settling in Telkwa and opening the bakery last year.
“We decided to move to the Bulkley Valley because it’s just beautiful here,” said Lexow. “I really feel comfortable here, people are very friendly and the nature is amazing. It’s a pretty special place.”
Tammy Crofts has worked at the bakery for the past few months and said she loves coming in to work.
“They’re super nice people to work for, very hard working. Their work ethics are amazing. If something doesn’t look quite right, they’ll make another one,” said Crofts, adding that she plans on staying a while. “When your work environment is so healthy, coming to work is a piece of cake.”
Despite a craving to create the best sweets, Lexow admits he doesn’t grab a pastry when he goes home.
“Because I work with sweets, I prefer savoury. So just having a simple piece of bread or cheese makes me more happy than cake,” he laughed.
More than 100 votes were cast for this year’s leadership award between August and October. The bakery won by two with 31 votes.
The award was established in 2011 to recognize the contribution of local businesses and business owners to the community.