It’s going to be a melding of minds with an offering of the sweet, sinful, and absolutely delightful cookies, cakes and chocolate confections with two accomplished and veteran chefs as Ron Johnson’s S.T.A.S.H. (Scrumptious. Tasty. Artistic. Sinful. Heavenly.) Cookie Bar and Janielle Fords’ Bleu Esse present a pre-Valentine’s pop-up.
Johnson’s S.T.A.S.H. Cookie Bar has 30-plus cookie concepts mapped out for what he terms will be “an avenue created for tasty, wildly unique and unusual cookies such as mango and caramel, matcha and leche” but for now he’s taking baby steps into the foray featuring cookie flavors – blueberry and white chocolate, strawberry cheesecake, oatmeal raisin spice, butterscotch and toffee, and pina colada at their debut pop up tomorrow at Arawak Cay near the rock oven, between 12 noon and 6 p.m. His cake flavors offered will include banana with cinnamon streusel, guava (chunk) with brandy butter glaze, and pumpkin and spice with cream cheese frosting.
Ford’s Bleu Esse will be represented with dark chocolate ganache macaroons, benne caramels, strawberry chocolate chip cookies, chocolate espresso cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. Her assorted bonbons will feature flavors such as soursop, benne dark chocolate, mango passion, stewed spice coconut and salted caramel.
“I’m doing more of our Bahamian flavors that people may not associate with chocolate,” said Ford. “I’m giving people an idea of where we can go with chocolate and native flavors like sour sop which is one of my favorite flavors. I’m sticking with simple, classic Bahamian flavors, accenting the chocolate. It’s a little out there, but not too out there.”
The idea of the pop-up Johnson said came from Ford. The duo has known each other since their primary school years at the now defunct Our Lady’s Primary School, and even attended St. Augustine’s College together. And as Johnson cheekily says, they have an affiliation with the Valley Boys, but have kept in touch over the years as they pursued their individual culinary dreams.
Johnson, found a niche working aboard yachts and as a private chef. He was also a part of the Bahamian team that earned The Bahamas its first Team of the Year title at the Taste of the Caribbean, and has appeared at the Culinary Olympics in Germany.
Ford has worked at the Four Seasons and Albany and formed a partnership opening a pastry shop in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. She has also cooked at a James Beard Gala, Disney’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and is featured in an African American cookbook “Toques in Black” which highlights 101 top black chefs.
“[Ford] said let’s get together and I said, okay let’s do this, and we’re doing this,” said Johnson.
The duo’s first pop, he said, is also a test of their resourcefulness, resiliency and entrepreneurship in the face of the pandemic. And he sees it as the first step in him gravitating to the next phase of his career in which he sees himself bringing new concepts to the Bahamian market and adding to the standard. Prices will range $2.50 to $5.00.
Blue Esse’s first half of the menu features:
Dark chocolate ganache macaroons
Strawberry chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate espresso cookies
Chocolate covered strawberries
Assorted bonbons: soursop, benne dark chocolate, mango passion, stewed spice coconut, salted caramel
S.T.A.S.H. Cookie Bar’s second half of the menu features:
Blueberry and white chocolate
Oatmeal raisin spice
Butterscotch and toffee
Banana with cinnamon streusel
Guava (chunk) with brandy butter glaze
Pumpkin and spice with cream cheese frosting