Dessert Island: Michael Eskenazi from Félix & Norton
Please introduce yourself
My name is Michael Eskenazi. I am the owner and founder of Félix & Norton cookies and I have been making smiles for over 32 years.
Were you always a cookie person, in the business of cookies?
I have not always been in the business of cookies, but I was always a cookie person. The first few words that kids learn are “Mommy”, “Daddy”, “no”, and "cookie" - and I know “cookie” was one of my first ten words. I was passionate about cookies since I learned to talk, and since I learned to eat.
What was the original Félix & Norton cookie? Has it ever changed?
The very first recipe that I developed when I decided to go in the cookie business was for a basic Chocolate Chunk Cookie, which was made with dark chocolate chunks. It’s still the recipe of our Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookie today!
I recently happened to be flipping through a folder of all the original recipes, in my handwriting, from the early research and development days - before we opened the first store. There it was, [the recipe for the Chocolate Chunk Cookie], simply titled "Basic" right on top of the pile.
What were the most original recipes to come out of the Félix & Norton bakery?
A lot of recipes were inspired by cookies we grew up with, made of ingredients we just thought were good. In the beginning we even had cookies that were made with a shot of alcohol in them. For example, among our first cookies were Kahlua Double Chocolate Chunk, as well as Cointreau Orange Milk Chocolate.
One of the interesting moments was when we had the idea of putting all three chocolates (milk, dark and white) into the same cookie. We held a contest called “name the cookie”. That’s how the name “Ménage à Trois” was created. A dozen people actually suggested that name, so we had to pick a winner from a hat for a 7kg chocolate bar and everyone else got free cookies. That was the beginning of our most successful and most popular cookie!
OK, QUESTION TIME: YOU’RE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, OR IN OUR CASE ON A “DESSERT” ISLAND. YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE ALBUM, ONE PODCAST AND ONE FLAVOUR OF OUR COOKIES. WHICH ONE DO YOU TAKE? LET’S START WITH THE BOOK.
A book that was a part of my life when I was a boy, and came back into my life when I had young children is the “Little Engine That Could.” It’s basically about the power of positive thinking. It’s believing you can do things no matter the obstacles and If I were stuck on a desert island, I would want to be inspired to believe I could do something.
WHICH ALBUM WOULD YOU TAKE AND WHY?
I’m a classic rock kind of guy. The only album I think I could listen to over and over again is “Abbey Road” by The Beatles. Each song just makes me feel really good. It’s about enjoying life!
And what movie?
I love to laugh and the people that make me laugh over and over are Monty Python. I don’t think I would mind watching “Life of Brian” another couple hundred times.
TO MAKE YOUR ISLAND LIFE A LITTLE SWEETER, WE CAN GRANT YOU A LIFETIME SUPPLY OF ONLY ONE FLAVOUR OF FÉLIX AND NORTON COOKIE -- WE KNOW IT’S HARD TO CHOOSE. WHICH WILL IT BE?
It would be Ménage à Trois. It’s got variety! Each one is a little bit different, and even though we put in equal amounts of dark, white and milk chocolate, each individual cookie has a little more of one and a little less of the other. If I had to eat the same cookie over and over again, I’ve at least got three different types of flavours to always enjoy.