Less than a year after opening, a Winnipeg ice cream parlour has been named Foodie of the Year by Western Living Magazine.
Chaeban Ice Cream opened at the old Banana Boat location on Osborne Street in December last year, but the cold didn't stop Winnipeggers from embracing its exotic flavours, which include rosewater, orange blossom, toasted pistachios and rare orchid-root powder.
"It's been awesome, it's been better than I expected. We have so much local support it's just unbelievable. I'm just proud of the neighbourhood I'm living in and the city that I'm in in Winnipeg right now," said Joseph Chaeban, who owns the shop along with his wife Zainab Ali and partner Darryl Stewart.
Chaeban says he was surprised when he travelled to Vancouver to accept the award, many people he met had heard about Winnipeg's food scene.
"They're like, 'Yeah, we love Winnipeg. You guys are such a foodie town.' And I felt so proud, I'm just part of this group and it's so amazing," he said in an interview on CBC's Up to Speed.
The success of the business has meant a lot to Chaeban and his family. When members of his wife's family started to come to Winnipeg as refugees from Syria, he wanted to find a way to support them. Now, many of them work at Chaeban Ice Cream.
"And I'm so proud of that part, because that was my biggest worry is just having enough income to support them and have jobs for them," he said.
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Chaeban has also started collaborating with other entrepreneurs in Winnipeg's food scene. He created a flavour using a sour cream glaze doughnut from Oh Doughnuts, combining it with rhubarb and thyme.
"And it sold out so fast, we had to make it again, and we made it again it sold out fast again, and we were like, we have to do another flavour, we cannot keep going on this flavour so people can want it back when we do it again," he said.
He also collaborated with Better Than Baba's perogy truck, which is using Chaeban's coconut vegan ice cream with its perogies.
"I'm so excited, I just want to see how it turns out," he said.
Chaeban also launched an ice cream cart with eight flavours so he could take his business out to events and festivals around the city.