French bakery a surprise hit for owners

Word of mouth helping to keep the shop busy

After opening Patisserie 27, Walter Sallese was surprised at the amount of support the traditional French bakery received from other small businesses in the area.

“People were sending people here, like, ‘You’ve got to go there’ and I was kind of not used to that,” he says. “At first I didn’t know how to take it but it’s pretty cool.”

While Sallese bakes breads and croissants in the back of the storefront on the corner of Jane and Annette streets, his partner Azumi Kimura, who trained in Japan and France, specializes in sweet treats like macarons, cakes and pastries.

“She has more, I would say, the proper base, the theoretical, the technical. So if I’m, like, ‘Why isn’t this working?’ she knows more the science behind it,” he says.

Even though he grew up surrounded by the baking business in his mom’s family in Italy, he didn’t decide to pursue it as a career until much later, he says. The idea to branch out on his own had been brewing even while he attended George Brown College in 1997 and worked at different bakeries, but he needed a push from Kimura to take the next step, he says.

“I needed a kick in the butt. She kind of gave me the push I needed, like, ‘okay, let’s get serious,’ ” he says. “She’s more the perfectionist whereas me, people always say describe yourself, I’m like the hack that sometimes gets it right.”

Sallese’s recipes for Patisserie 27, which is named after their birthdays, are inspired from years of eating, travelling and working in the industry, he says. Although it’s more challenging to make, his favourite bread is the sourdough Ciabatta.

“Everything we do from scratch. We make everything,” he says.

As for the future, they plan on adding to their savoury and sandwich menu options.

Since opening earlier this year, one thing he’s learned is foot traffic doesn’t necessarily rely on the weather, he says.

“Two weeks ago we had that storm on a Friday — it was crazy that storm,” he says. “I thought, ‘No one’s coming’ but it was crazy and then a couple days after it was a beautiful sunny day and you could hear the crickets.”

About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Aug 22 2012 5:50 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto