Amy Rosen: The future is Canadian
Seeing Amy's passion mixed with a drive to succeed was truly inspiring. From freelance writing, becoming a cookbook author and owning her own business, she really has done it all. Fast forward to 2017, Rosen's Cinnamon Buns is booming and another cookbook is on the way. Find out how Amy's passion turned into a reality, and what's on her horizon.
"You know they say that you're successful if work doesn't feel like work and I don't feel like I've worked a day in my life.”
Tell us how you got into this industry?
"I did an English degree at McGill and a Journalism degree at University of Kings College in Halifax. Then I went to La Cordon Bleu in Ottawa because my big plan was to be Joanne Kates. My dad is a doctor and my mom is a dietician, so we grew up eating really healthy. I went to learn how to cook with butter and cream and make pastries and all of that. The following year I came out with my first cookbook called Generation Eats. It took my film undergrad and married it to my cooking and journalism because it was a cookbook and video guide. Then I was just a freelancer, I wrote about everything from new technology to travel to fashion and just about anything for other magazines and newspapers. I was very lucky, I got in everywhere right away. En Route was my first gig outside of journalism school and they are still my most regular outlet. I've been very lucky, in having an abundance of mentors throughout my career which has allowed me to stay as a freelancer, which I love. So a few more cookbooks came after that, and now we find ourselves in 2017 with my second Toronto cookbook. I wasn't going to do another one, but Toronto Cooks was such a surprising hit that Toronto Eats was born about a month ago."
What is the idea behind Toronto Eats?
"Toronto Eats is a compilation of recipes from 50 of the best restaurants in the city featuring 2 recipes each. The book is beautifully photographed with the chefs actually cooking and plating their own dishes. Its as much a user friendly cookbook as it could be a coffee table book. This one is ethically diverse, a lot of easy recipes, but still as impressive as the offerings in an actual restaurant. I wanted a mixture of people, with a lot of women and people of colour and I just wanted to show the diversity that is Toronto today. I ate at all the restaurants and so I had to like them too. It's as much as a dining guide as it is a cookbook."
What was your ultimate passion when you first got started?
"I have to say I've been really lucky, my plan was to be a cookbook author and food writer. So I guess its good sometimes to have a plan. You know they say that you're successful if work doesn't feel like work and I don't feel like I've worked a day in my life."
How did your passion lead you to open Rosen's Cinnamon Buns?
"It was a literal epiphany moment. I've been very lucky in my career. There was a time when my writing outlets weren't going away but I could see editors getting laid off, magazines folding and newspapers shrinking, I knew I needed to take ownership of my life. It was just before Christmas, that I made cinnamon buns for my family in a quick and easy way when I had my epiphany moment. From there, my 1 year old niece to my 70 something father were both equally enjoying my cinnamon buns. Accross generations, genders, and ages, I realized that everyone loves cinnamon buns and I said out loud I should open a cinnamon bun bakery. Starting January 1st I developed a recipe. The rest is history."
How has it been since you opened?
"It's been best case scenario. As soon as we opened the doors we were selling out early everyday. We amped up production and still sold out, that's when we figured it out. Now we're great. We've gotten our processes in place where we are able to wholesale into places that bake up our buns fresh like Mcewans and Pusateri’s. As well, we've got great coverage from the States, I don't know how they found out about us but big outlets like Thrillist and Buzzfeed had put out great write ups that have helped. I think people like the uniqueness of the idea, the design of my shop, everyone is happy when they come in. Everyone comes in and leaves smiling and they tell me it feels as though they're at home enjoying a homemade treat made specifically for them."
What do you think of the food scene in Toronto?
"Right now, Toronto is the strongest it's ever been and its become an international destination for food. It's an exciting place to eat. Its hard to keep track of all the amazing places to go. You think it's going to be so great in other cities around the world and then you're like, you know what ours is better. You realize how amazing Toronto's food scene is when you're away."
“Well, another thing I'm working on is a cinnamon bun toast spread. It's going to be ready in time for Christmas. We’re just designing the label and are about to run the first jars. This is the thing I'm realizing now, it's not about the buns. It's everything else that surrounds the experience. I also have a deal for my next cookbook, Kosher Style, but this time, it will feature my own recipes. It's modern jewish and the idea was that people aren't cooking the classics anymore. It's all your favourite Kosher dishes, but lightened up to reflect modern society in a more modern and minimalist way."
If you haven’t been to Rosen’s Cinnamon buns yet, you don’t know what you're missing. We can’t wait to see what Amy will do next! Amy's cookbook TO Eats has been a hit since it hit the market, which is why we knew when we opened up our collective and started to sell other Canadian designers, it would be a must include. Make sure to check out a copy of TO Eats here and give the gift of cooking this holiday season!
Shop her look: here
Shop TO Eats Cookbook: here