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Burnaby pastry, chocolate icon Chez Christophe celebrates 10th anniversary

This Burnaby Heights favourite has a decade’s worth of accomplishments and teamwork to celebrate.
Burnaby chocolate and pastry favourite Chez Christophe has turned 10. Photo Leila Kwok/@leilalikes/Contributed

One of Burnaby’s favourite local bakeries Chez Christophe is marking a decade in business by celebrating their staff and creating more delicious treats.

Christophe Bonzon and his wife Jessica opened their shop in Burnaby Heights 10 years ago and have seen a variety of successes over the years.

With classic Swiss desserts and pastries, as well as modern iterations, customers have been delighted by a wide array of macarons, hand-made chocolates and other confections, along with an always-appreciated coffee bar.

“We pride ourselves to try to do a good product,” Bonzon told the NOW. “My whole team that works with us really cares about the quality … If it weren’t for our customers and the people who support us, we wouldn’t be here.”

Many are long-time customers – and Bonzon attributes that to the close-knit atmosphere of their location in the Burnaby Heights neighbourhood.

“We have some customers who have been with us for 10 years, and it’s, for us, it’s what we like being in Burnaby Heights as well. It’s kind of this community feeling,” he said, comparing it to the Swiss town he grew up in.

“It is kind of like how I grew up, coming from a smaller town in Switzerland, where people know each other and you create relationships with other small businessowners, or when you go shopping at your butcher or your baker, he knows you, he knows your kids. These kinds of things I really care about, and I’m really pleased to see our customers getting to know us and, as well, us getting to know them.”

Bonzon said his business takes pride in supporting diverse communities and prioritizing inclusivity, partnering with local LGBTQIA+ charities like Qmunity, and supporting various charities in the region.

Chez Christophe also puts an emphasis on building local partnerships to support local businesses: it is currently partnering with local florist Lotus Flower Boutique for a Mother’s Day gift bundle and has also created a chocolate-infused honey in a collaboration with Burnaby-based B.C. Bee.

Bonzon said there were many milestones over the last 10 years, but the one that stuck out to him was opening day.

“When we first started 10 years ago, where we kind of realized the dream. It’s something you think about, and suddenly, it’s happening. I would say that’s a big moment for sure, when we opened, seeing people coming to the door supporting us.”

There were other milestones too: Bonzon, a Swiss-trained pastry chef and chocolatier has more than 20 years of experience in pastry and chocolate art. He’s a Cacao Barry Canada ambassador, and he won four awards at the 2015 World Chocolate Masters Canadian Final. He was a finalist in the New Immigrant Entrepreneur contest, as well as for “Business Person of the Year” and “Entrepreneurial Spirit.”

Most recently, he was invited to sit on the jury for the 2022 World Chocolate Masters in France, and in 2019, the Bonzons opened their second location in White Rock.

But he didn’t mention those to the NOW. Instead, he highlighted working alongside his staff, noting he has some employees who have been with the business for many years – an accomplishment in the restaurant industry, known for its high staff turnover.

The past two weeks, Chez Christophe has been highlighting its staff on social media.

“(They’re) the people who make us who we are. Because it’s not, Chez Christophe is not only just me and my name and my wife. It is a whole team behind us who is working towards the same goal …. People who have been with us for a long time and who grew with us.”

For the next 10 years, it’s that team spirit and character Bonzon wants to bring into the future.

“We do want to keep pushing and keep building our brand, but the thing – the main thing – is to keep creating a strong team working with us, reinforcing ‘you are no one on your own.’ … There’s always a five-year goal and another 10, so just keep moving toward them.”