James ColeridgeI grew up eating ice cream and sorbetto but fell in love with gelato in Italy when I was a young adult. I knew as soon as I tasted the sweetness of that dessert, that a life in the world of gelato was what I was meant to do.

I went to the Italian Culinary Institute as well as Carpigiani Gelato University for my training. I have achieved many accolades but nothing has filled me with as much pride as what I’m trying to achieve now through Desserts and Daffodils with the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon.

When cancer touches your life, directly or a family or friend, your life changes forever. A disease that impacts more then 186,000 Canadians a year, there are few whose lives have not been impacted. Cancer has touched the lives of almost everyone. My life-long best friend was diagnosed with cancer and passed away just seven days after finding out. He was the one person who influenced my life the most and he is deeply missed now, even five years later. He was my father.

For the month of April – the Society’s Daffodil Month – I will be creating and selling a custom yellow gelato through my gelateria Bella Gelateria in Vancouver. I’m also going beyond that. I’m issuing a personal challenge to anyone in the culinary or hospitality industry to join me in dedicating a dessert for their customers that will give them the opportunity to reflect on sweet memories of a loved one they may have lost to cancer or who is fighting this disease.

By leading Desserts and Daffodils I have the opportunity to make a connection with my customers and the culinary and hospitality industries. Together, we can share our pain and then focus on the sweeter moments we had with loved ones lost. We can rally together over this common bond of cancer and we can make a difference in the fight.

I love making gelato. It’s what I was born to do. The decision to make a special gelato to raise cancer awareness and funds to help in the fight against the disease was an easy one to make. What’s better than doing something you love for the cause?

James Coleridge is the owner of Bella Gelateria, located at 1001 West Cordova in the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. As part of the Desserts & Daffodils initiative, James will also be selling Daffodil Pins through Bella Gelateria and giving away treats and Daffodil Pins by donation at a Chef’s Corner in Downtown Vancouver (location TBD) on April 26. For updates, contact the Society’s Grace Chiu or search #DaffDesserts on Twitter.