Ingrid Laederach Steven

Swiss-Master Chocolatier
TurningPoint:  Life changing medical issues

imgThe beautiful little chocolate shop is tucked into a strip mall in one of Toronto’s most exclusive neighbourhoods.  On the front door is a sign that reads, “I Believe … that you can keep going long after you think you can’t.”  The author of the quote is unknown, but it is the mantra of the owner, a woman as beautiful as the perfect, tasty chocolates she has sold for the last twenty-five years. 

When you first meet Ingrid Laederach Steven you would never know the traumatic turning points that have shaped her life.  All you see is a beautiful woman radiating inner peace and dispensing wonderful bits of advice along with her decadent chocolates.   You would never know that her dream of becoming a professional singer had been dashed at the age of eighteen when she damaged her vocal chords.  Trying to build a new future with her husband Tom, she went into cardiac arrest on a plane high above the corn fields of Nebraska.  Ingrid hadn’t been feeling well and a well meaning Flight Attendant gave her some oxygen.  But the effects of the altitude and extra oxygen made her heart stop. There was a doctor on board the plane that day and while the pilots worked on making an emergency landing Ingrid fought to stay alive. She remembers looking at her distraught husband and thinking, “He’ll be OK, he’s young.  He can marry again.”  Once the plane was on the ground they raced to the hospital.  Ingrid remembers coming out of the haze and hearing one of the doctors shout, “She’s back – we’ve got her!” It was a close call but as she recuperated at home her medical issues continued.

While trying to restore her health and start a family Ingrid suffered seven miscarriages. These were dark moments for Ingrid but she knew that life would get better. “I kept persevering,” Ingrid says, “I kept telling myself, it’s going to happen – it’s going to happen.”  That positive attitude has served Ingrid well over the years.  She opened up Swiss Master Chocolatier in Toronto and has been selling “Beautiful Chocolate to Beautiful People” for the last twenty five years. It’s not uncommon to see Hollywood celebrities in her shop along with thousands of people who have discovered the mouth watering joy chocolate brings.  Presidents, royalty, a pope and astronauts have all nibbled her amazing truffles and treats.  Through all of life’s setbacks and severe health challenges, Ingrid’s philosophy remains sunny and as sweet as her chocolate. “I tell people not to give up.  Things do get better. You can have dreams but don’t make them too far out of reach so you can’t attain them. You have to be realistic but good things do happen.”  As you read Ingrid’s story, the “I Believe” sign on her front door takes on a new meaning.  Remember the seven miscarriages?  Ingrid refused to be defeated and finally gave birth to two beautiful daughters. Her two girls grew up and presented Ingrid and Tom with four grandchildren to spoil and love. “Every day I realize I’m lucky. So lucky.” But for us looking in on Ingrid’s life we realize we’re the lucky ones.  She’s shown us that not all turning points in life are happy ones but with a little dose of optimism, hope – and a few chocolates – we can all “Believe”.