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Vonnie Jasso

Vonnie Jasso with her now famous butter tarts at her Southampton restaurant, Just Like Mom’s. Vonnie owns the business along with her husband Paul.

Hub Staff

When Vonnie Jasso decided to enter her restaurant’s butter tarts in the Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival in Midland, Ontario, she didn’t know what she was getting herself into but said it was a lot of fun and nice to be recognized.

The now famous butter tarts from Southampton’s Just Like Mom’s Restaurant on Highway 21 placed third in the Traditional category for professional bakers while their pecan tarts placed fifth in the Dessert Fusion category. A second Saugeen Shores business, Port Elgin’s Smiths’ Apples and Farm Market, saw their butter tarts place ninth in the Traditional category.

Through an elimination process a dozen judges including Rachel Smith and Jean Parker of Food Network Canada’s The Baker Sisters, and Sharon Hampson of Sharon, Lois and Bram fame, chose the winners from 40 butter tarts from across the province in each of four categories for the sweet show down. In addition to the Traditional and Fusion categories for professional bakers, the same two categories exist for home bakers, rounding out the four categories.

The one day event, now in its sixth year, took place on June 9 with vendors, a Kids Zone, art activities, and buskers; and happens adjacent the tART Music and Art Festival, a two day event, June 9 and 10, with artisans and musical entertainment. The event is free to attend and draws tens of thousands of people to the Simcoe County town.

“It’s kind of neat, we’ve had people come to get our butter tarts that said they saw that we won,” said Jasso in an interview with the Hub June 21, adding that they had to get their second double gas oven up and running to keep up with the demand. 

Jasso said that prior to attending the Festival, the restaurant was making about a dozen tarts for every day or day and a half of business. “I think we’re up to 26 or 27 dozen since [the Festival],” she said June 21, adding that butter tarts are “a very Canadian” thing.

“My husband is from California, they have no idea,” she joked.

The contest was brought to Jasso’s attention by one of her sisters who lives in Edmonton. “When my sister comes to Ontario she does the Butter Tart Tour,” said Jasso. “Any spot that has a sign that says, ‘Homemade Butter Tarts,’ she’s there,” she said.

“I love what I do and I love doing it for who I do it for,” said Jasso about running the Southampton business. She added that from 1996 to 2002 she operated a bakery in Owen Sound, then worked for the school board managing the cafeteria at West Hill Secondary School, now Owen Sound District Secondary School, before opening Just Like Mom’s five years ago. “We’re five years on the 26th of this month,” she said.

“We’re just a little restaurant,” Jasso said, adding that they make everything from scratch. “It keeps us hopping,” she said.

Tarts

A batch of butter tarts, fresh out of the oven, at Just Like Mom’s Restaurant in Southampton.

Restaurant

Just Like Mom’s is located at 150 North Rankin Street, just off Highway 21 in Southampton.

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