Dunbar’s Dynamic Duo
If you haven’t heard of Chloe and Skylar Sinow you are likely to very soon. These Dunbar residents’ friendly faces appear on their Kids Can Cook Gourmet organic pasta sauces that are taking B.C. grocery stores by storm.
To date this sister and brother team have three varieties of pasta sauce placed in 150 B.C. and Alberta shops. Chloe is 12 and Skylar is 13 years old, and they have been going full speed ahead as a marketing and chef team for two years.
The adventure for these go-getters began in November 2014 when they sold homemade pasta sauces, dried pasta, caramel popcorn and cookies at Dunbar Community Centre’s Christmas craft fair as part of a fundraising initiative for Cook for the Cure. The pasta sauces were a surefire winner and reorders came in quickly.
Chloe admits she was a picky eater when she was younger and their homemade pasta sauce was always something she would eat. When the sauces received glowing feedback from customers they knew they had created a product both parents and children were seeking.
“We are big fans of promoting sustainable farming and cooking with fresh local ingredients.” Skylar Sinow
Skylar has always loved to cook. He recalls getting into the kitchen at an early age to watch and assist. Chloe confesses her interest in marketing is partially thanks to her business savvy parents, Andrea and Harald Sinow, who ran their own company.
In 2013 the Sinow family went on the trip of a lifetime. Andrea and Harald sold their company and the foursome packed their bags, accompanied by their Labradoodle named Moka, and set off on a yearlong trip to Europe. Visiting UNESCO sites was a large part of their agenda. Their father mentions, “We lived a nomadic life and followed the weather south.”
The family purchased a motorhome and bicycles and over the 12 months visited 17 countries. Chloe and Skylar were home-schooled during their time away. Skylar fulfilled his writing requirements by drafting a cookbook.
When they returned home to Canada the ball really got rolling. 2015 was a monumental year with two auditions for the national television shows Chopped Canada and Dragons’ Den.
Last February Skylar auditioned for the Food Network’s teen edition of Chopped Canada and was accepted. The show broadcast last December and he was honoured to have placed runner up.
Skylar and Chloe were encouraged to audition for Dragons’ Den by one of their many mentors, chef Vikram Vij (who was a past ‘dragon’). They earned a spot on the show, which broadcast last November, and made their impressive pitch. They left with two dragons backing them for a deal of $25,000 for ten per cent equity.
When asked how they handled the pressure they mention the incredible support of their friends and family who listened and critiqued their presentation many times before the big day.
They are very grateful to the community of Dunbar that they refer to as their extended family.
Pasta sauce production is a family affair; even their parents get involved. The sauce is made in a government-regulated facility in Burnaby and is overseen by two regulated staff. The family orders the produce, which they clean, chop, process, label and box. Skylar has his Food Safe certification and smiles when he reports, “It is fun to be able to tell my parents what to do.”
Running a business takes dedication and commitment and the pair have an abundance of both qualities. Skylar pops home from Lord Byng Secondary School at lunchtime to make business calls while Chloe manages their social media presence. With her keen eye for design she also helped create their website.
They admit dedicating time to their business is their primary focus outside of school although they also take time to pursue their favourite hobbies. Chloe’s fashion company is her other passion. She just completed her first fashion line as part of the Vancouver School Board mentorship program. The skilled seamstress sewed the apron that she wore on Dragons’ Den and sells them through the Kids Can Cook Gourmet website. She attends Lord Kitchener Elementary and likes hanging out with her friends. Chloe says, “The reward of working hard is playing hard.”
Skylar enjoys cycling, gardening and everything food related, from making his own bread and cheese to developing recipes. He has also assisted chef mentors with catering events and even catered his teacher’s wedding reception with his friend Quinton.
Offering kids healthy food choices and educating them about where their food comes from is of utmost importance. They have big dreams ahead for their company and plan to introduce new products such as soup and possibly gardening packages for kids. Skylar says, “Grandparents would go crazy for that.” Chloe concludes with wisdom beyond her years, “We want to be the leaders of our futures.”