10 Acres Chef Dwane MacIsaac spent 17 years as ‘chef to the stars’ working in Vancouver’s film industry.
“It was fantastic,” he says. “It was fun, I travelled all over the place. It was great.”
But eventually the lustre of catering to the film industry wore off and he found himself in Victoria.
MacIsaac first met Fol Epi baker Clif Leir in 2008 when he went to pick up strudel. “He asked me to help move his grinding stone,” says MacIsaac. “They were in a temporary space at the Princess Mary until (the Dockside Green location) was built – it was the heaviest strudel I ever lifted!”
The men bonded over their mutual love of fresh, down-to-earth food and MacIsaac’s love for Leir’s pizza.
“They grind their own flour, it’s all organic, the meat is from Choux, Choux … they usually run out by 1:30,” says MacIsaac, as he waits for his pie.
The fare arrives laid atop paper bags, one for the brisket and one for the blue cheese and carmelized onion. They are piping hot and MacIsaac is more than happy to pose for a quick photo before digging in. “I hate when the cheese burns you right here,” he says pointing to the roof of his mouth.
As the risk of cheese-burn subsides we dig in. “This is smoked, braised brisket and the camelized onion is so beautiful and sweet it’s almost like jam,” he says. “The tomato sauce tastes the same as it did four years ago – it’s very consistent.”
They grind their own flour right at the bakery using an old fashioned stone grinder and it’s baked in a stone oven.
“He builds his own ovens and uses a wood fire, grinds the whole wheat flour,” says MacIsaac. “I love it, it’s so dry on the bottom and the ingredients are really great. Great quality stuff.”
Along with pizza, which is not available on Saturdays as their ovens are busy baking the in-demand loaves of bread, Fol Epi also has a variety of sandwiches for the lunch crowd along with decadent pastries and rustic breads.
Their bread is made with two heritage grains – red fife wheat and rye. Stone ground flour is also available to purchase from the bakery in 1kg or 2kg quantities for those who want to do their own baking.
“My son is addicted to their caramel macarons,” says MacIsaac. “Their desserts are pretty awesome and the breads are great.”
But the pizza is still his favourite, a treat he stops in for almost weekly.
“It’s not anything complicated,” says Leir. “It’s good ingredients and everyone taking care with preparation at each step – that’s the basic formula.” Fol Epi is open seven days a week 7:30am to 5pm at 101-398 Harbour Rd.