DECADENT Perth sweet-spot Choux Cafe reopened after a short break last week with a fresh colourful guise and “cakes that shine” courtesy of new owner and Kalamunda pastry extraordinaire Brian Hart.
Vowing to carry on the bakery’s French-European style and top-notch reputation, Hart – former apprentice of celebrated Choux founder, chef-restaurateur Emmanuel Mollois who left to open Subiaco’s Le Bistro des Artistes – is eager to take the business in a progressive “artistic” direction.
“I’ve tried to open the place up and add some guts, so it has that X-factor that makes you walk in and go wow!” the amiable 27-year-old said.
“I’ve made changes to the menu; a lot of the savoury items are the same, keeping the regulars happy, but the sweets are now very modern – we’ve upgraded to ‘the new era’ which involves me using a lot of (unexpected) ingredients like basil and Moroccan spices.”
Having recently returned from an eight-year bout in Europe – predominantly working at high-profile establishments in Switzerland – Hart has plenty of worldly wisdom to employ and impart.
“You can’t just buy things and put them together. You must smell them, try them and talk to the sellers – that’s Europe and that’s what we do. You must live for the food,” he enthused.
“Also, it’s important to share your knowledge. Unfortunately a lot of chefs here get to a certain position and neglect to do this. I love the idea of information being passed down through the generations, even if it’s as simple as a grandma giving her recipe to the grandchildren.”
As the adage goes: behind every successful man there is a woman, and that is Hart’s wife Jooles.
An accountant by trade, she has a more appetising job after hours.
“Jooles is responsible for everything I create: she tastes each item – she has an excellent palate – and gives them the nod.” Hart said. “One day she said, ‘you never named a cake after me’, and I said, ‘OK then, let’s make one together’.
“My favourite fruit is raspberry and her favourite sweet is my crème brulee, so I created the ultimate raspberry cake in her honour. This is the dessert that impresses people the most.”