TORONTO, Canada — Mon K patisserie’s desserts simply possess the perfect blend of sweetness and flavour. The Toronto bakery has only opened its doors in June 2013, yet it has already garnered a lot of attention from foodies and city dwellers alike. Their desserts’ unconventional blend of French and Japanese flavours (such as green tea éclairs and passion fruit macaroons) have changed the way desserts can be made. The owners, Ryosuke and Naomi Kita are simply the most delightful people who enjoy their customers’ support and have a strong passion for all that they do. While Ryosuke does the baking, Naomi manages the shop. It is clear that their defined partnership has been one of the key factors to their patisserie’s success.
Ryosuke Kita began his training in Japan when he was 18 years old. At the time, he only specialised in Japanese cuisine. However, he would eventually emigrated to Toronto where he worked at a Japanese restaurant before transitioning to French cuisine. He was first introduced to French cuisine by Masayuki Tamaru, one of the best Japanese bistro chefs in Toronto. Eventually, he worked at the Celestin Restaurant (now it is Thobors Boulangerie) for several years and it was where he trained under Marc Thobor, a pastry chef from Paris. This was also where he got the idea to open his own patisserie. Naomi Kita explains about the idea of starting mon K patisserie:
Ryosuke got inspired by French pastries at the Celestin Restaurant, but we, as Japanese, thought it was really too sweet for our taste. So, he went to Japan to learn about the Japanese way to make desserts and see if there was a way to make desserts less sweet, but flavourful.
The Art of Japanese Desserts
Upon Ryosuke’s return to Japan, he studied the art of Japanese desserts through various recipes and books. In fact, he has always practicing and learned his craft in the kitchen. Everything that he has ever learned was through experimentation or at the restaurants he has worked for. Ryosuke proves that one does not necessarily need specialised training to be successful in this field. He has even had the chance to work for Thobor in Paris. His lack of formal training has helped him find his own style in the kitchen.
“First, I imagine the customers’ faces when they eat my pastries. It is a challenging and sometimes stressful process, especially if it does not go well, but that always motivates me to make my customers happier,” says Ryosuke when he was asked about how he experiments with different ingredients to produce the best possible results.
Naomi and Ryosuke believe that it is always best to listen to their customers’ feedback to improve upon their desserts. In fact, they are constantly praised for their desserts’ subtle sweetness. They have even had an increase in Asian customers from all over Toronto since this criteria is also attractive to the Asian palate, which favours diverse flavours rather than the overtly sugary taste commonly found in most desserts. Besides that, they also offer the Flourless Gateau Chocolat, which consists mainly of cornstarch for customers who may have dietary restrictions.
mon K patisserie’s Coxwell location may seem unconventional for a bakery, but there is a good reason behind it. They have two younger children who they have to collect from school every day and it allows them to avoid downtown Toronto’s expensive rent. When Ryosuke still worked at restaurants, he would work until midnight and it was rare for him to see his family. Despite some of these personal challenges, it has never gotten in the way of Ryosuke’s passion for baking remains constant. As Ryosuke says:
“Baking for me means making my family, friends and customers happy with my food. I was always in the food industries, but my dream was to have my own restaurant rather than the bakery. It was not until we had our first child that I changed my mind. Creating food is always making people happy, that is what I believe.”