Monday - Thursday 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Friday 7:00 am - 12:00 p.m.
Sweet Angel Chocolate
554 Lakeshore Rd. East
Office: 905 271 0255
Cell: 416 580 7940
Chocolate for a cause, By Leslie Wu
TORONTO—A Toronto sweets maker and a local hotel have teamed up for an effort that comes straight from the heart.
When executive chef of the Sheraton Parkway Hotel Glen Gardner learned his executive sous chef Francis Villamejor was suffering from cancer-related illnesses leading to long-term disability, he decided to lend a helping hand.
Mike Shapiro (L) and Glen Gardner are leading a
chocolate baking project to help a fellow chef.
|Gardner called up his long time friend and former colleague from the
Regal Constellation hotel, chef Mike Shapiro who now runs Sweet Angel
Chocolates in Etobicoke.
The two chefs are combining forces to raise money for Villamejor through the sale of molten lava chocolate cakes, which are produced at Shapiro’s store and at the Sheraton Parkway by staff volunteers.
“What I particularly like is the way this project has brought people at the hotel together,” said Gardner. “We have catering people who are coming to help bake, engineers who are getting their wives to sell cakes, housekeeping doing promotion, and, of course, the cooks donating their time to bake lava cakes.”
Although the original goal was to raise $15,000 (10,000 pieces at $2.50, of which $1.50 will go to Villamejor and his family), the team had already sold 8,000 lava cakes at time of press and was receiving additional donations. They will be fundraising until the end of August. “The sky’s the limit,” said Shapiro.
|Full Story Here
||Facebook: Chef Francis Villamejor Family Benefit|
A group of Mississauga volleyballers traded their kneepads for oven mitts today. Their efforts will help them on the court — and they ended up smelling like chocolate. Five members of the Peel Selects 95 volleyball team spent the morning (Saturday, Dec. 3) with chefs at Sweet Angel Chocolates in Port Credit baking 1,500 chocolate lava cakes which will be sold to raise funds for the club.
Boxes of 10 cakes will be sold by team members for $25. Each girl is being asked to sell 15 boxes and, given their decadence, that shouldn't be difficult. They hope to raise more than $1,500 that will help to offset costs for hosting the national championships in May at the Enbridge Centre — the first time Toronto has ever hosted the event.
The team also hopes to travel to the United States for a tournament this season.
The team is made up of high school-aged girls from the city, including Grade 11 Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School student Victoria Woloch. Making lava cakes was a lot of fun and not nearly as much work as playing volleyball, she said. The heavenly aroma that enveloped the shop was a pleasant change from the smells of a locker room.
"It's a lot of fun…great fun," she said. "We're working hard." Sweet Angel Chocolates' owner Mike Shapiro helped them remain focused on the baking, despite a lot of laughter. He guided them as they prepared the cakes using his own recipe for cakes sold at his pastry shop.
Shapiro, who once worked as the executive chef at the Sheraton Hamilton, opened Sweet Angel Chocolates two years ago as a tribute to his daughter who died unexpectedly in her 20s. Helping the select volleyballers gives his pleasure.
"It's my way of giving back to young people…a way to remember my daughter (Michelle).
Delicious fundraiser an ace
Click here to view Toronto Sun article and video
TORONTO - Walk into Sweet Angel Chocolates on the Lakeshore Rd., and be prepared for the ultimate chocolate experience.
The pretty little shop that caterers to trade as well as anyone walking in with a hankering for a a dark chocolate truffle or perhaps a white chocolate cheesecake lollypop just brims with light and sweetness. It's an oasis amidst a sea of drab storefronts and pockets of construction sites. Open the front door and be prepared to be enveloped in heavenly aromas and the warmth of the owner, Mike Shapiro.
All one can think of is this is what heaven must taste like.
Mike's a slim, wiry man with clear blue eyes, a ready smile and a constant energy that's as tangible as the desserts in his showcase. His two-person staff is small but mighty and between the three of them they create an array of gorgeous desserts for such companies as the CN Tower, the Mississauga Convention Centre, The Sultan'ts Tent, the downtown Hilton, Ten Restaurant and Wine Bar, Terrace on the Green, the Lionhead Golf and Country Club, Lambton Golf Course and others, along with customers who pop in curious as to what's behind the storefront sign, and leave with a selection of artfully created and excellently priced treats
"We put in a good day's work and my clients are fantastic," says Mike, 54, of his shop, where pastry chef Amy Pelley and Dong Juan Ma keep busy creating the delightful selection of sweets, working through some 400 kilos of quality Belgium and German chocolate every month. "What don't make here are cakes — it's all about individual desserts and chocolates."
Not bad for a store that once housed a butcher shop. Two years ago Mike took it over after overcoming some of life's most difficult journeys — the devastating loss of his young, beautiful daughter, Michelle, and, almost immediately afterwards, a bout of cancer.
"A parent should never bury their child, no one prepares you for such...pain," says Shapiro, quietly. "I could take the cancer, but not the loss of my daughter."
In a sense, Sweet Angel Chocolates is a tribute to his daughter, and all the sweetness and joy she gave to everyone, says Shapiro, who began his culinary career when he was only in his early teens, as a dishwasher at a local Howard Johnson.
This was after he gave up his career as a "professional snooker player —I won the championships when I was 14 years old!" But figuring a career in food offered more stability, he joined the George Brown culinary program, and apprenticed at the Constellation Hotel for two years under the skillful guidance of legendary executive chef Joseph Vonlanthen — a man Shapiro reveres to this day. He later became sous chef to another Vonlanthen alumni, celebrity chef and Food Network star Mark McEwan.
"I still organize the reunions for the chefs, including Mark," says Shapiro, his eyes lighting at memories. "The chef community is a very tight group — I keep in touch with as many as possible including Mark, and good friends like Peter George whose a real powerhouse at the CN Tower."
Shapiro worked through the ranks and, in 1985 at age 28, became the executive chef for the new Sheraton Hotel in Hamilton — one of the youngest executive chefs to do so.
It enabled him to unleash his talents and, throughout the years, his vision grew, and he found himself creating meals for some of the biggest names and celebrities, including dignitaries Bill Clinton and stars such as Tom Cruise, Whoopie Goldberg, Sophia Loren and the late Luciano Pavarotti. "A really nice man, very appreciative," said Shapiro.
Along the way, he married and became father to two — Michelle and son, Bill. His marriage would later dissolve but he remarried , a woman named Assya Pavola, and for all accounts, life was all good for Mike.
Until four years ago when "my angel, the light of my life" died suddenly in a senseless death: "Michelle choked to death after a night out," he says quietly. "She was in her 20s...it's like the light went out of my life."
Shortly after that Shapiro found himself diagnosed with cancer of the saliva glands on one side of his jaw and he underwent a grueling operation and radiation procedures that went on for what seemed like "forever."
It took a while for him to shake the darkness and take stock of where his life was heading. Perhaps it was the sweet memories of his daughter, or his restless spirit that lead him two years ago to stand inside the old butcher shop and turn it into the success it is today — a shop in memory of one of the sweetest people in his life: Michelle.
In her honour he also gives back to the community in various charitable causes including fundraising for the Peel Selects Volleyball Club to enable them to go on to the nationals.
"Notice every sweet here has an angel design or decoration on it?" says Mike tenderly. "That's for my daughter, my angel."