Sharing Stories in Bits & Bites

Sugar and Spice…

Now, if you are anything like me, you looked at the picture of the cinnamon buns, read the title and thought…oooooohhhhh a recipe for those luscious buns! Yippee! No, nooot quite.

Sorry. Was that mean of me? I knew what I wanted to title this piece the moment  I finished the interview with Jim and Roxanne Gain, proud proprietors of Ohana’s Restaurant. But not because of their amazing cinnamon buns, there’s more to it than that.

Living in Smithers for over 17 years, I was spoiled. If I had a major cinnamon bun craving, I knew I could get a perfect one at Schimmels. Even when the ownership was passed on a few times, the recipe went with them…phew! Then we moved here. Although I don’t crave sweets a lot , now and again I really need me a good ole fat sticky bun, preferably warm and extra gooey!

One day after searching for a particular ingredient at Pipers Meats, we stepped out and were smacked in the face with that decadent buttery cinnamon aroma! Resistance was futile. No disappointment at all. Best cinnamon rolls since Schimmels. Dare I say…even better? As a bonus it was served with an award winning smile. Turns out, that was Roxanne and I can’t share the cinnamon bun recipe because she developed it through painstaking trials and errors. She, my friends is ‘The Sweet’.

She claims she had absolutely no talent for cooking or baking while she was growing up. A favourite first ‘recipe’; sugar toast. Yep, butter and sugar spread on bread, then fried. Her infectious laugh bubbles up as she shares her first meeting with her in-laws. She proudly baked them a cake, in which she replaced the sugar with salt….ooops! Fortunately, she didn’t let that experience deter her. As she raised three boys while working in the food industry, she practiced her skills. Inspired by Anna Olsen, the Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart, she kept working through recipes until they were just right for her and her family.

Roxanne’s husband and business partner Jim, well …you guessed it. He’s the spice! Although he has no formal training either, he grew up in a household where food was family. As he shared stories of the horse and sleigh delivering bottles of milk to their door, one can’t help but picture images by Norman Rockwell. He learned to make everything from scratch, standing at his mothers side, carefully following the instructions from his first teacher. His “Aha” moment was a Grade 3 project on spices from around the world, he was hooked by the exotic smells and tastes. Jim loves to create dishes using his home-grown pepper varieties, and to play with spice combinations to come up with something unique, yet comfortingly familiar.

Ohana’s is a buoyant reflection of Jim and Roxanne’s personalities. The sunny decor, a relaxing playlist along with the scent of delectable soups, sandwiches and baked goods all contribute to the welcoming atmosphere. Although the restaurant has only been operating for a few years, their business Gain Foods Ltd. has been operating as a wholesale bakery for over 12 years. This couples passion not only for food, but sharing their food and zest for life with people is what really shone through when I sat down with them.


Get out of the grey and gloom today, immerse yourself in the warm colours, welcoming attitude and soothing foods found at Ohana’s.  A little bit of sugar, a little bit of spice, coming together for a whole lotta nice.

“Follow your passion, and success will follow you.” ~ Terri Guillemets

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