Pâtisserie Lallier Brings French Pastries to Columbus
Columbus loves dessert. Just look at the variety of cupcakes, ice creams and cream puffs we have scattered throughout the city. Michelle Kozak is hoping that her offerings are a bit more refined at Pâtisserie Lallier, a french pastry business that currently sells products at several outlets in Columbus.
We recently spoke to Michelle for a quick Q&A about her business.
Q: So… what got you interested in baking?
A: When I was growing up, I spent time with relatives who liked to bake including my mother, grandmothers, and my grandfather. In middle school, my Polish grandfather gave me his recipe for bread that was similar to challah, and shortly after that I made that bread for the first time. I have enjoyed cooking since then. When Carolyn Claycomb ran Columbus State Community College’s culinary program, I took many one-day cooking courses there. A few years ago Columbus State started a Baking Certificate program which I took classes towards. Then I found out about an intensive pastry program at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris that would allow students to complete the three courses needed to become a chef in 4-5 weeks each. I finished the Basic Pastry course in the summer of 2009, and I just completed the Intermediate Pastry course this past December. I will return this November to complete the last class which will allow me to earn my pastry chef diploma. Baking is something that I love to do, but that I have never done full-time. I’ve had careers as a high school math teacher, and currently as a SAS programmer, so baking is very different from what I’ve done professionally.
Q: What sparked your interest in French pastries and desserts?
A: In high school I took French for four years, and used to enjoy the French club breakfasts when my teacher would get croissants from The French Loaf for us. That was my first introduction to French pastry. I loved that culinary experience as well as learning about the language and culture of France. In college I briefly studied French, and a few years after I graduated I had a teaching job in Lausanne, Switzerland that gave me the opportunity to really use my French. When I came back from living there, I was enrolled in a Math Education program and took some French classes at the same time. I considered getting a degree in French, but I was not able to do both programs at once.
Q: Are your pastries made from classic recipes or do they have a modern or local twist?
A: The fundamentals of many of the recipes I use come from the recipes I learned at Le Cordon Bleu, but I always like to experiment, so I’ve put my own twist on many of the pastries. For example, the basic Madeleine (French tea cake) recipe was for a traditional lemon Madeleine, but I’ve developed many of my own flavors including Orange-Cranberry, Coconut-Lime, and Lemon-Blueberry. I also like to try different types of nut flours, so I’ve incorporated pistachio flour into some of the recipes for the cakes called pavés and Parisian macarons, which are normally made with almond flour. One of our other menu items that I created is a macaron that is made with peanut flour and has a chocolate filling… which my husband likes to call a Buck-aron.
Q: Your website says that you’re currently selling pastries at Global Gallery in Clintonville on Friday mornings. Are there other places to find your treats or place orders?
A: Currently Global Gallery is the only retail store where you can find our pastries, but there may be another location coming soon. You can also place orders directly by calling or emailing. Our contact information and menu are on our website. Starting this month we will be at one farmers’ market a month from now until October. On Saturdays April 30th, May 21st and June 18th we will have a booth at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market from 9am to noon (High Street at Dunedin). From July to October we will have a booth at the Grandview Farmers’ Market one Saturday a month from 10am to 1pm. We will post the dates for this market on our website once they have been scheduled.
5. Are there any particular pastries or items that are customer favorites, or personal favorites that stand out?
A: Our pains au chocolat started out as the top seller at the markets last summer, and then a few months back we added croissants aux amandes, which have been equally as popular, if not more popular. The Parisian macarons are also a big seller. My favorites are the almond croissants and the strawberry-orange flower guimauves (marshmallows) that we have just added to the menu. The texture and flavor of the guimauves are very different from the marshmallows here, and they were one of my favorite sweets from my time in Paris. They are very light, and the flavor is very subtle. You can both sample and buy the guimauves at our booth at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market on April 30th.
6. So what does the future hold for your business? Are you working toward opening a dedicated full-time bakery or cafe?
A: We will continue to sell our croissants and pavés (cakes made with gluten-free ingredients) at the Global Gallery each week, and may add some other retail outlets. I like the combination of wholesale and direct to the public via the farmers’ markets. We will continue to build on this model by adding a wholesale location or two and expanding to do some winter markets next season, and increase the number of markets for next spring.
Q: Anything else that we should know?
A: We use as many organic, fair trade, and local ingredients as possible in our products, including organic unbleached flour, fair trade/organic sugar, local eggs, Snowville Creamery milk, butter made from Snowville Creamery cream, nuts from Krema, honey from Honeyrun Farm, and fair trade/organic chocolate. We also just started using compostable bags for our products.
Many people have asked me what ‘Pâtisserie Lallier’ means. In France, a pastry shop is called a pâtisserie, and my grandfather’s family name was Lallier. His relatives came from France in the 1800s.
We love meeting our customers, so please stop by and say hi at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market.
More information can be found online at www.patisserielallier.com.