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Michael Laiskonis

Pastry in Toronto

17 posts in this topic

I'll be in town at the end of July for a guest chef dinner at Susur. I'm woefully ignorant of the pastry scene in the city, and assuming I'll have a day or so to explore, who or what should I check out? Restaurant pastry chefs, retail shops... anything?


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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About a year and a half ago, I went to Senses Bakery and I had dinner at their restaurant. At that time, the executive pastry chefs were Bruno Feldeisen and Thomas Haas. I know that Thomas has quited and he's now pastry chef at diva in Vancouver. The meal I had was very good, very creative food, well cooked and good desserts.


Patrice Demers

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Hit the Front Street market on Saturday morning - there are a couple of bakeries represented, some excellent croissant, foccacia, middle eastern style pastries.etc, etc,

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Please check out my earlier post on pastries in Toronto. I think we beat that subject to death a few months ago. Rahier Patisserie.

Quick recap:

Rahier is still the best, if you can stomach the attitude

Patachou is worth a visit

Don Wuong is interesting and should be watched. (check out his web site)

5Senses in Toronto is not as good as Vancouver's. I've recently been to the newly re-opened 5Senses in the Metropolitan hotel, and it's definitely off-the map for me. They have the same old deserts with little variations, and it does NOT taste the same as before although it may look the same.

Please let us know if you make any new discoveries. What city are you from Michael so we can better understand your vantage point?


"I hate people who are not serious about their meals." Oscar Wilde

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Explorer - I'm curious about the rest of your meal at the new Senses. I enjoyed former Senses a great deal and we're planning on a dinner there next week. When I called for a table I was told by the very pleasant reservationist that all of the previous kitchen team was still in place. Did you have the feeling that they're finding their way in the new space? Or perhaps a bit rusty after the hiatus?

Thanks for your thoughts

K.

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KM- I was referring to the 5Senses Pastry Shop, adjacent to the restaurant- since this was a thread on pastries. (sorry for the misunderstanding)

But as you indicated, it is the same chef as prior (for the restaurant), and I once called the new restaurant too to inquire about a possible reservation, and got a very pleasant reservationist that was extremely accomodating. He almost read me the whole menu very patiently.


"I hate people who are not serious about their meals." Oscar Wilde

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Michael- One more thing I remembered; there's the pastry chef at Pangea as well (Sorry can't remember her name, but you can easily find). She was previously at Scaramouche.

We went recently just for deserts at Pangea, and I must say that it didn't blow us away.

Good luck.


"I hate people who are not serious about their meals." Oscar Wilde

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Thanks to all for your responses... I will be taking a look at the previous thread as well. My time will be limited as it is a work trip, though coming from Detroit, there really is no good reason for not making the relatively short trip more often...

Seeing as that I will be setting up shop at Susur for a couple days, what are all of your impressions of dessert there? How does it fit into the overall style of his savory cooking, and particularly with regard to the structure of his tasting menu?


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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Michael,

Susur is already talking up this dinner, so you're expected.

Dessert has always been Susur's weakest food point. Can't really recall anything outstanding. Typically he puts several small portions (around 4) on a plate. Sometimes it works!

The reverse menu is the worst thing about the place. He's probably the most talented chef in town, but seems transfixed on this point. IT DESTROYS WINE MATCHING. But Susur doesn't understand wine (he once cooked a dinner for me to match special wines - not at Susur - and then switched the order of courses on me at the last minute without telling me). I once asked him, if reverse menu made sense, why he didn't serve dessert first - he laughed, but I was serious.

But the food is so good we still return regularly, and occasionally we just order half a dozen appetizers between us and tell him the sequence we want.

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Rahier is good. I recently tried Pan Perdue on St. Clair west (just past Christie St.) and was very pleased--good croissant, very good Gateau Basque, and, though I didn't try them, the brioche looked enticing. I've heard that the bakery next to Celestin on Mt. Pleasant is good.

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Thanks to all for your responses... I will be taking a look at the previous thread as well. My time will be limited as it is a work trip, though coming from Detroit, there really is no good reason for not making the relatively short trip more often...

Seeing as that I will be setting up shop at Susur for a couple days, what are all of your impressions of dessert there? How does it fit into the overall style of his savory cooking, and particularly with regard to the structure of his tasting menu?

Susur’s desserts have included a flavored crème brulee or panna cotta of sorts, sorbets with fruits such as lychee, pineapple, prickly pear; a Chocolate-Cardamom Mousse that was incredibly light, a green tea ice cream that actually tasted like green tea, the pre-requisite molten cake that was actually molten, deft use of puff pastry in tarts, a key lime curd that was appropriately tart, many types of candied or dried fruit as garnishes, excellent fruit purees & sauces etc etc

I would say the desserts fit the place – very Asian in concept and execution. He uses subtle flavors to provide a sweet ending. They are not the decadent crème & butter laden offerings you may see at other restaurants. I guess things I’ve not seen there would be a cold soup, a great ice cream, cheesecake....

In terms of the tasting menu - they are appropriate. You're usually very full, so it puncuates a great dinner without overdoing.

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for pastries:

rahier uptown

tournayre on queen east

clafoutis on queen west

the best croissants in town.

sen5es for sure.

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i was also the pastry assistant at sen5es for a while and the new kitchen staff at the new sen5es in the soho met is the same.

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I had a great time in in Toronto last week, though, apart from a brief foray into Chinatown and dinner at a portugese place, we were in the kitchen for much of the two or three days...

Thanks for all the info- I'm hoping to return soon for some leisurely exploration.


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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*bump*

I'll be in Toronto soon, and would like to check out any great pastry shops or bakeries. Any more suggestions? I know that Tournayre has closed. I think Clafoutis will be a good place to stop at when I go shopping on Queen Street.

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Tournayre has returned to his new place on Mt. Pleasant near Eglinton called Jules Patisseries. It's pretty convenient since you have 4 other french pastry shops within walking distance: Bamboche, Rahier, La Cigogne, Le Comptor de Celestin.


"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

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