Kathy Dhillon, co-owner of Vanilla Bean Bakery and Café, fell in love with baking at a young age. “My grandmother was a fantastic cook and baker. She pulled me into the kitchen when I was eight years old. I ended up being the baker in my family,” she explains. Dhillon was the one who was always asked to bring the desserts to family functions. “I wasn’t surprised when my sister-in-law asked me to make a three-tier cake for her parents’ 50th anniversary. I bought a book and the tools I needed and made this amazing cake and in the process, I fell in love cake decorating! I bought more books and tools and I began to study and practise.” Dhillon started a home-based cake business and became known as the “The Cake Lady.”
In 2015, Dhillon married and decided to retire so that she could spend more time with her new husband. “But then my step-daughter suggested starting a business together,” she explains. “I had always dreamed of opening a little pastry shop, so we decided to give it a shot. My retirement lasted six months!” Dhillon and her step-daughter, Rashpal Gill, opened Vanilla Bean Café in June 2016. Located at 138 Cromwell Street in Sarnia, the shop boasts a beautiful brick wall and showcases of delectable desserts.