by Malcolm Jolley
For nearly 25 years Carl Stryg has made shortbread under the Coach House Shortbread Co. label. His cookies aren’t just any old, sandy, dry cookie. Stryg has developed a way, in his East End Toronto atelier, of putting more butter into his biscuits than anyone else. The hand-made shortbreads, which are made from only natural ingredients and run in sweet and savoury custom flavours, have developed a devoted, cult-like following not least because they are only available at The One of a Kind Show in Toronto, and two similar events in Vancouver and Montreal, respectively. Otherwise, Stryg’s fans must mail order from his website at www.shortbread.ca.
While making shortbread has been his constant job over the quarter century, Stryg has two other major accomplishments under his belt. He toured around the world as a professional counter-tenor singer and opened the first proper restaurant on the stretch of Queen East that became Leslieville: Hello Toast. The stress of each made Stryg want to slow down, and Coach House Shortbread, with it’s seasonal emphasis seemed like the best option of the three. He retired from singing, long sold the restaurant, but keeps making the butteriest shortbread cookies known to mankind. (Seriously they are amazingly, weirdly moist.)
I video recorded the interview below recently.
This video was made possible through the kind support of Fortessa Canada / Schott Zwiesel.