Sweet Tooth — Yo’ Dough straight outta Westmount

The mastermind behind Montreal’s hottest gourmet cookies is 23-year-old Jesse Schwarz. We profiled him here.

Yo’ Dough’s birthday cake cookie

“I don’t like cookies,” said absolutely no one, ever. You have your favourites, I have mine, and Jesse Schwarz of Yo’ Dough cookies wants us to want his.

Schwarz, a 23-year-old native Montrealer who grew up in Westmount, knows his cookies. He’s been researching them since he could barely walk, never denying himself any cookie he crossed paths with.

At 13, his love for cookies sparked his interest in making his own. Initially, it was all about chocolate chip, but he soon realized he wanted to produce something more exciting.

“I threw in my favourite things: caramel, white chocolate and milk chocolate and played around with ingredients until I got the perfect texture and taste,” he says. Little did he know, that combination would later become The Original Yo’ Dough flavour.

Schwarz started selling his goods at his local Java U café by the time he was 14, but that didn’t last long — selling cookies was high school social suicide. After graduating from Concordia University’s JMSB with a major in marketing, he decided to revisit his baking past. At first, he says, he was unsure of the outcome.

“I was just having fun baking new flavours and working on building a brand,” he says. But when the owners of a major U.S. snack food manufacturer and distributor took interest in his products at a food show in Chicago, he says “the confidence they showed in me really made me believe in myself and the potential of Yo’ Dough.”

Mojo back, he went on to create some of the most innovative cookies in Montreal, from Birthday Cake to Hot Chocolate, Lemon Meringue to Halloween Pumpkin. “I just have fun with it and never put a limit on my imagination,” he says. “Yo’ Dough is always about being ahead of the game, so of course there’s a ton of new flavours in the works.” Newcomers Cinnamon Bun, Ice Cream Sundae and Cream Cheese Brownie will be in stores shortly.

With Yo’ Dough gaining popularity at an exponential rate, his days of baking orders in his home kitchen are long gone. A bakery might now be in charge of production, but he’s still fully responsible for bringing new, crazier flavours to life. “I come up with the concept and design every single Yo’ Dough cookie myself. A lot of thought goes into the ingredients and the way they’re made. I want to be proud of every flavour that comes out.”

Buying them isn’t as practical as walking into a Yo’ Dough shop because there isn’t one, nor is it a priority for Schwarz. “For now, we’ll continue to sell through other retailers and get our cookies to more places all over the world,” he says. We can, however, look forward to the launch of an online store.

With Montreal down and Toronto next, Schwarz is determined to achieve world cookie domination one cookie — and one city — at a time. 

Yo’ Dough
Twitter: @YoDough
Facebook: /YoDough

Erika David blogs about her food adventures in Montreal at This Is Why We’re Fat. Follow her on Twitter @erikadavidMTL.

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