Correct us if we are wrong, but nothing quite compares to freshly baked goods. Especially if they are in the form of French pastries. *Wipes drool away from mouth.* So ahead of Bastille Day, the day where the French commemorate the start of the French Revolution, what better way to acknowledge the National Day than to revel in all sweet things that are French exports. So read on and say bonjour to Jen & Antonio Marchesi, the husband and wife duo from My French Pastries in Robina.
How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
J: We did the big move from France six and a half years ago and came directly to the Gold Coast.
Tell us about your professional journeys to date.
J: I have done several very different things in my life. I’ve worked in restaurants, bars and hotels for a few years in France. I did nails then some cleaning when we first arrived in Australia. Saying that, I’ve always been baking at home from a young age and Antonio and I have always loved baking together even though I’m now more at the front shop and do less baking.
A: I’ve been baking since I was 16. I was lucky enough to have a French pastry chef from Paris as my mentor when I completed my apprenticeship in Australia. I worked for a few years back in France in our local boulangerie and learnt even more about traditional French pastries. When we moved to Australia in 2015, I wanted people from the Gold Coast to experience the baking I love from France and keep it authentic, focusing first on flavours. Jen and I started My French Pastries from home with only four pastries on the menu and were amazed that people were interested straight away. After a little over a year, I quit my full-time job in another bakery to concentrate on My French Pastries, then after three home-based years, we opened our dream shop in Robina.
What’s the one thing you love the most about French culture?
J: It is so hard to find just one thing I love about French culture. Food being a huge part of our culture, I would have to go with that but there’s so many aspects of French culture I miss on a daily basis. The traditions that are hundreds of years old and still are celebrated nowadays, the arts that are at every street corner, and the history that you can feel everywhere.
A: There are so many things I love about the French culture. I miss the fresh markets where you can smell everything from fresh fish to cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables and of course, the freshly baked baguettes.
What is your favourite French baked good to make?
J: More of a cake than a pastry but the “Fraisier” would be my favourite to make. I find any layer cake very satisfying to make! If the question was to eat, I would have said without hesitation “le flan patissier”.
A: La religieuse!
What is your best-selling product?
A: From all categories, our mini almond croissants are our best seller followed very closely by the plain croissant. Regarding the patisserie, the millefeuilles sell like hot cakes!
Will you be doing anything special for Bastille Day at My French Pastries?
J: At this stage we don’t plan on doing a special cake, as there isn’t traditionally one affiliated with this date, however we’ll make sure to have plenty of mixed boxes of petits fours as people love having a taste of all the French goodies on that day!
How do you suggest people celebrate Bastille Day?
J: Definitely with French pastries haha! French food is definitely ideal to celebrate Bastille Day! However a nice baguette and nice cheese with wine and a few friends for a picnic if it’s a good day would definitely do the trick! Rainy day? Perfect opportunity to watch a French movie!
A: Not original but you can’t beat nice French cheese, a baguette and wine!
What are each of your Gold Coast favourites…
J: My go to is Le Vintage and Mudjira
A: Le Vintage
How do you choose to spend your weekends?
A: Because I work on Sunday evening, if we are closed, I love spending my Sundays relaxing and really being with my family and two beautiful daughters.
J: We love just spending quality time together. A perfect Sunday morning would be to go with the kids and puppies to the beach, coffee, nice breaky and chill!
Well the last few days of healthy eating were fab(ish) but we’re done with that and you will be too once you see what rolled into Robina on Christmas Eve.
It’s called My French Pastries and it’s the perfect way to kick off our 2020 food tour of the Gold Coast because as everybody knows, pastries are life and French pastries are even better than that.
The newbie isn’t technically all that new – husband and wife duo Jen and Antonio Marchesi have been baking authentic treats from home for the last few years, selling via an online page and wholesaling to local cafes.
Lucky for us, they decided to open their very own café at Robina Quays so we can pop in every single day for a sweet, indulgent treat (or two).
Antonio has been a pastry chef for 17 years and Jen is French, which is obviously the perfect combination. The pair decided they wanted to create a place that felt exactly the same as walking into a French patisserie with authentic, simple and quality eats and here we all are.
Everything is made from scratch using the very best produce (Belgian chocolate for example) and it’s extremely delicious.
So what can you eat?
Well sweet goodies like Key Lime Chantilly, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry and Chocolate tarts, which are both beautiful and very yummy.
There’s also Flan Patissier, which is the French equivalent of a custard tart, French Apple Turnovers, croissants (SO GOOD) and Croque Monsieur; a baked ham and cheese sandwich that will probably change your life.
So all the greatest buttery, sugary things.
Pop in for a coffee and a sit down or grab one of everything to take home and enjoy in peace.
Happy days Robina, we’ll be seeing you very soon.
LOCATION: Robina Quays Shopping Centre, 5/361 Robina Parkway, Robina
HOURS: Tuesday 6.30am until 2.30pm, Wednesday to Friday 6.30am until 3pm and Saturday 7am until 2pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Who doesn’t love chocolate? And ahead of our (and many other) absolute favourite worldly-celebrated days, (ahem World Chocolate Day), we speak to a local chocolatier who has not only taken the Gold Coast by storm, but plans to tackle the world chocolate market soon! You may know Lynda Pedder of Poppy’s Chocolate, as she has a chocolate factory at Beenleigh and shopfront at Robina Kitchens. Read on to find out a bit more about her and how you should spend World Chocolate Day… hint… it involves eating!
Tell us about your career to date.
We started the chocolate business in 2005 and had a factory at Beenleigh and also opened a chocolate café at Pacific Fair called Choclicious at the same time. It was the first chocolate café in South East Queensland. I sold that in 2011 after the GFC put an end to our franchising plans but I kept going with the chocolates. I opened a shop, and then café at Robina Town Centre in 2016 but the best part of this journey has been the development and growth of our online store after we finally figured out how to ship chocolates successfully!
What has been your greatest achievement?
I like to think keeping my dare devil son alive until at least 18 years old. I think it is being able to independently provide for my three children through building a successful business. That really has only come to fruition after 15 years of very hard work and turning things around from almost closing down forever at the start of COVID to multiplying our original business and now selling chocolates all over Australia and soon internationally!
If you had to recommend a quick baking recipe including chocolate, what would it be?
I like to cook Anzac cookies with chocolate in them. Something else I have made which was really delicious and easy was a chocolate block wrapped in filo pastry and baked – OMG delicious!
What do you love the most about chocolate?
The taste just takes you away from reality for a few moments. Chocolate just makes everything better! It is seriously the best food in the world.
What is your favourite chocolate flavour and why?
Gosh – that is so hard for me. We make a caramel chocolate rocky road with freeze dried strawberries, almonds, coconut and marshmallows and I think it is the best thing I have ever tasted.
How do you recommend people celebrate World Chocolate Day?
Eat lots of chocolate and visit Poppy’s Chocolate of course!
What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: I actually only go to Poppy’s Chocolate café!
Coffee spot: My fave spot would be Burleigh Heads Surf Club
Restaurant: Mad Asian at Robina
Bar or pub for a drink: The Sporting Globe Bar and Grill
The HOTA Gallery opening caused quite the stir on the Gold Coast, and when we found out that the Executive Chef of the high-anticipated Palette restaurant was Dayan Hartill-Law, they had every reason to get excited. Dayan has a long resume with vast industry experience including The Star, The Press Club, Dinner by Heston, Vanitas and Quay, meaning he will bring an international pedigree of learning from some of the best chefs across the world – lucky us! Read on to find out a bit more about Palette and the man himself.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
My family and I relocated to the Gold Coast 5 years ago now.
Tell us a bit about your career to date.
Coming up on 20 years as a chef, I have been on a perpetual pursuit to work with the best chefs and thinkers around the globe. More recently running prolific spaces like The Press Club in Melbourne and Vanitas at Palazzo Versace. There have been many formative years in my culinary education, working for great chefs like Peter Gilmore at Quay, Heston Blumenthal at Dinner by Heston and many others.
What career achievement are you most proud of?
I think there have been many not to sound obnoxious. I think my very first solo hat was great to attain, it sits on my kitchen wall at home as a reminder of the hard work. But I also love hearing from chefs that I have had under me in the past succeeding in their own right or repeat guests coming in time after time to enjoy what my team and I do.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration honestly comes from everywhere, whether walking through my neighbourhood and seeing what natives are fruiting or flowering, which I love to pick with my son. There’s also obvious inspiration that comes from my cookbook library. But the most inspirational thing for me now is being permanently surrounded by art; the way that certain pieces will spark an inspirational thought or a movement, it is a really great privilege to be surrounded by it every day.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
I really enjoy labouring over a ramen, spending the entire day working on it is wonderful, and to take from Ivan Orkin there are no rules with ramen so it can be anything, having done a Peking duck ramen, Hainanese chicken ramen, the warmth it brings to the soul is everything.
What excites you the most about Palette being part of the HOTA precinct?
The continuation of the precinct being all about arts is such an amazing thing to be a part of and to know that culinary art is held in such high regard, to be able to have Palette stand symbiotically alongside performing arts, and visual arts is amazing and to integrate the three together is really quite an amazing thing to be apart of. With plans to integrate the three with inclusive experiences in the coming months, it is really wonderful to be able to work with talented artists and creatives to think outside of the box to create wonderful cultural experiences for the Gold Coast and its visitors.
Which dish on the menu would you recommend is a must-try when visiting Palette, and why?
There are so many great features on the menu at the moment, the Fraser Island Spanner crab, watermelon radish, pandanus, blue quandong and lemon myrtle is my favourite from a chefs perspective. There are 45 movements on the plate which is pretty ridiculous when you have to do 100. The Voronoi, Little Cocoa chocolate, flavours of banoffee is also a really fun dish from its aesthetic, it was actually the very first dish I conceptualised when I learnt that I was successful in getting the position with HOTA. We have multiple fun things throughout the whole menu though, from Vegan fish sauce to Davidson Plum sorbet, Hervey Bay scallops, or the dry-aged Burrawong Gaian ducks that everyone is raving about.
What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: Being on the northside, it’s been so great to have Bear Boy open in Helensvale. We also love to go to Daark in Chirn Park.
Coffee spot: If I am running about in the shopping centres, Foster Black always hits the spot, but also Shakermaker and Blackboard are excellent.
Restaurant: Having two small ones, dining out is not as frequent as it once was, but I love to go and see Tim and Shannon at the North Room. Adam and Tim at Yamagen are doing some great things, but the most frequent restaurant for us because my son won’t eat any other beef than wagyu (must be nice) we are always at Wagyu-ya on Chevron.
Bar or pub for a drink: I am not really a big drinker but that being said, I have been a big fan of Tom Angel for many years, so looking forward to trying his entire menu on a Sunday afternoon at The Exhibitionist Bar. Plus the guys at Rosellas are doing some great things, as are the team at Nightjar and the Scottish Prince are also really pushing the envelope.
How do you choose to spend your weekends?
Spending time with the family is the most important thing being in this industry, you lose a lot of nights at home, which is never fun. But, on those weekend days I try to jam in as much in as possible.