Business gained steam for Venice-basedPlatine Cookies in 2004 after being featured on the Food Network. We keep missing that “Food Finds” episode, but we just had the pleasure of tasting some goodies prepared by chef Jamie Cantor, so life is good.
Freshness is one of Platine’s calling cards, and that was evident from bite one. Everything is a custom job, so budget five days into your thinking to account for preparation, baking and delivery.
Platine also distinguishes itself by putting a new tweak on old recipes. Its so-called Signature Cookie is an updated version of the old-fashioned oatmeal raisin cookie. It includes rolled oats, zante currants, granola, chocolate chips and walnuts. The chocolate in all the varieties had a subtle but appealing taste to it. Not too sweet but still plenty of substance and body.
Cantor, a veteran of the French Laundry, also does original designs for parties and special occasions in addition to the regular lineup of brownies, snickerdoodles and rugelach. Here are some more insights in her own words:
Victor: What is your most popular item?
Jamie: Our most popular item on our website is the Platinum Deluxe Tin — two dozen cookies and a half dozen brownies. I think people like it because it gives a little taste of a lot of things — four cookie flavors and the brownies.
Our most popular cookie is our “Chocolate Gingersnap.” I am always surprised by that one. I really like it, but it isn’t my favorite one. I think people really enjoy it because it is a great example of what we do: a sophisticated twist on old favorites. So it reminds people of the gingersnaps that they ate as a kid. But the fresh ginger and freshly ground dry spices, as well as the extra brut cocoa powder and chocolate chips, add a little twist that makes the cookie more interesting to an adult palate.
Victor: What has been the most unusual request?
Jamie: Speaking of adult palates, sometimes people ask for cookies for a “mature audience.” But we don’t do those, so we have never gotten the details of those types of unusual requests. So since we don’t take those types of requests, they haven’t been that unusual. One couple asked about doing a cookie with a picture of their son’s face on it. We get a lot of corporate orders, so sometimes they are more challenging than unusual. We did some cookies for people who worked on the movie “Hot Rod.”
It was really a fun challenge, and I think the cookies came out amazingly! (If I do say so myself.)
Victor: What has been the craziest order ever received?
Jamie: For us, crazy would have to be size. Last year we made over 3,500 custom packages for a major department store. Each package contained a custom teddy bear with a chocolate chip cookie, which was placed in a cellophane bag and hand-tied with a satin ribbon. Then the packages were grouped in different sized orders and sent to the stores all over the western U.S. This was crazy in terms of the size and logistics of the entire order, not really the teddy bears.
Victor: What kind of boost did The Food Network program provide?
Jamie: Huge. It completely changed the shape of our business. I was just making cookies and selling them locally to gourmet food stores in Los Angeles and doing a little bit of shipping. Platine was not my full-time job. I was trading work hours at a bakery where I worked so that I could use their commercial ovens. Most orders were placed by phone or e-mail, and we didn’t have a website. The day that I got the phone call from the production company I went online and securedplatinecookies.com as well as our toll free number.
We had a few months to put together the website and figure out some of the other expansion issues. It was a great learning experience. The show airs about once a year, so it is always a nice little rush of business when it airs, and it is funny to watch now and see how much we have grown!
Platine Cookies: 1-877-866-0696, firstname.lastname@example.org