A local chef who has mastered the art of flaky pastry has rolled his expertise into a business offering make-at-home croissants.
Chef Patrick’s Gourmet Foods now offers packaged, ready-to-bake croissants made in The Blue Mountains but at home in France.
The crescent-shaped pastries come frozen, they need to be pulled out of the freezer and left to rise overnight before being baked in the morning.
“The hardest part is to remember to pull them out the night before,” laughed Ruth Bourachot, one half of the Thornbury-based business.
Founded by Ruth and Patrick Bourachot, Chef Patrick offers gourmet frozen foods that can be purchased directly from their location at the Georgian Peaks Club or at any one of their many vendors located throughout South Georgian Bay and beyond.
Before starting Chef Patrick, Ruth, a food and beverage director, and Patrick, a French-trained chef, applied their skills and passion for food across Canada at some of the most regarded hotels in the country, winning awards along the way. In 2005, the duo — who were married at the time — followed their dream to take the cumulative experiences they had and open Café Chartreuse in Collingwood.
The unique French-style cafe offered a rotating chalkboard menu featuring fresh food made in-house daily using as many local ingredients as they could find.
“Our vision was that you could have a quick, healthy lunch without having to do fast takeout or greasy food,” she said.
They also offered frozen foods for sale through the cafe that were such a hit they could barely keep up with demand. So, after almost 10 years, Ruth and Patrick sold Café Chartreuse to focus on catering and bring Chef Patrick’s Gourmet Frozen foods to the retail market.
“It was great while it lasted. We created something that we had no idea meant so much to so many people until after we sold it,” said Ruth. “We still hear about it, which is quite endearing and makes us feel really good.”
Around the same time they separated themselves from the cafe, Ruth and Patrick made the decision to separate on a personal level as well and move forward solely as business partners. They both saw the potential in Chef Patrick, so they decided to focus their efforts on growing the business together.
“We took the best parts of us and kept it,” Ruth said. “We’ve always had a level of professionalism and respect for each other, so we decided to continue doing what we do best: growing the business.”
Now looking forward, they decided to take the best items from the cafe and offer them to their consumers in a different way. Namely, the hand-rolled butter croissants, signature pain au chocolat and a selection of quiches. Chef Patrick’s signature make-at-home croissants evolved from a dozen in a ziplock bag with a sticker attached, into a resealable brown bag with a tag, to their new custom-printed bags that can be purchased across the region.
“It’s been neat to watch the evolution of how the croissants have come together over the years,” said Ruth.
A number of local and artisan vendors now offer Chef Patrick’s Gourmet Foods, either putting their own spin on it, like offering a homemade sandwich on a freshly-baked croissant, or in their retail store for consumers to bring home and bake.
“We really tried to make it so that you can have gourmet food, even at home,” said Ruth.
Their next step is growing and distributing their products even further, but they are determined to only work with like-minded businesses so they can always keep the integrity and quality of their products.
“We are really pleased that we have so many great gourmet food shops,” said Ruth. “We don’t want to be in Loblaws, we’re an artisanal product and we want to work with small businesses because we’re a small business.”