Pastry chef Thierry Busset. Lia Crowe photography

How sweet it is for pastry chef

Thierry Busset brings the flavours of France to Vancouver

  • May. 3, 2021 7:30 a.m.

– Story by Gail Johnson Photography by Lia Crowe

Macarons, brioche, financiers and sablés: these are a few of the exquisite treats on display, like so many pieces of art or jewellery, in cases imported from France that were specifically designed to showcase chocolates and pastries in the new Thierry Café in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant.

French-raised master chocolatier and pâtissier Thierry Busset has trained and worked with some of the globe’s top culinary talents, earning respect as a pastry chef the world over. None other than Gordon Ramsay, a former colleague, once called him “one of the finest pastry chefs in the world.”

Now, Thierry is settling into his new home, the 2,000-square-foot café and 4,000-square-foot production space at Main and Kingsway. Here, he honours his roots with all things buttery, chocolaty, flaky and finely crafted.

It all started in Auvergne, France, where Thierry learned to cook by his mother’s side.

“We grew up with plenty of food around us,” he recalls. “My mother always cooked for us. Every time we went to school, we came home for lunch. Cooking was all around me, and she encouraged me.”

Throughout his career, Thierry has taken on roles at several prestigious Relais & Chateaux properties and Michelin-star restaurants like London’s Le Gavroche, where he worked with the late Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr.

What skills he didn’t learn in one pastry kitchen he would set out to pick up in the next, acquiring time-honoured techniques such as how to make pâte de fruits and nougats. During mandatory military service, he made pastry for the French government. He has also worked in a ski resort in the south of France and on an island in the French Caribbean.

On a recommendation from Ramsay (whom Thierry knew pre-Hell’s Kitchen and four-letter-worded fame), he spent several years working with legendary chef Marco Pierre White, helping elevate his London restaurant from two Michelin stars to three.

“The pressure is not to get the three stars but to keep it,” he says. “At a Michelin-star restaurant, you learn service. You have to be perfect, and you have to be fast and organized. It’s very great training.”

One of his day-to-day tasks at Marco Pierre White was to dip chocolate by hand. Even now, at his sophisticated, airy new digs—where he has access to chocolate tempering equipment and a chocolate cooling tunnel, along with temperature-controlled storage, test kitchens and packaging rooms—he prefers doing much of the dipping by hand rather than by machine.

“It’s a more natural technique, and it’s good to learn if the machine ever breaks,” he says. “For all the people who work for me, it’s good for them to learn it.”

The travel bug brought him to Vancouver, and he fell in love with his surroundings. He joined Toptable Group, first working at West before heading the pastry program at CinCin Ristorante.

The second location of Thierry comes almost a decade after the first on Alberni Street. Like its downtown counterpart, the elegant East Vancouver outpost boasts the group’s trademark palm wood doors.

In each location, these doors open to the aromas of France, from freshly baked croissants to all sorts of ganache chocolates. Made of milk and dark and white chocolate, the artful pieces contain ingredients such as gin, Quebec maple syrup, shaved tonka beans, coconut pulp and raspberry liqueur. Macarons, in the colours of a Monet garden, are regularly offered with different flavours, from cassis to salted caramel.

Among Thierry’s signature desserts is the gold-leaf-adorned chocolate marquise: the rich, dense cake comprises hazelnut dacquoise, salted caramel, crisp praline and chocolate mousse. It’s a showstopper that his wife concocted with him. (The couple has three children together, ranging in age from seven to 12.) If it’s chocolate you’re craving but can’t make up your mind, the chocolate trio is for you; it’s a chocolate sponge cake layered with white, dark and milk chocolate mousse. The pretty passionfruit cake is especially popular, bright and refreshing with elegant miniature pink macarons dotting the bottom of a mound of passionfruit mousse with white genoise, all topped passionfruit gelée.

The café also offers savoury items such as quiche Lorraine with thick-cut bacon, organic vegetable quiche, a variety of croissants (including croissant au jambon) and more, with sandwiches coming soon.

Thierry loves the idea of coming in for a petit four with Thierry Café’s signature coffee—a special blend made in collaboration with 49th Parallel. Except that he’ll be having something savoury: “I’ve been doing pastry for 36 years,” he says. “I like to cook for family and friends, but I don’t eat pastry except to test it.”

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Food

Just Posted

Work on the first section of the Lake to Lake bike route is getting underway with these steel barriers along Martin Street. (Contributed)
Construction gets underway on Penticton’s lake-to-lake bike route

Residents and drivers in the area should expect to see crews at work starting May 14

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Traffic is backed up along Naramata Road after a semi-truck collided with a power pole on Fleet Road. (Jesse Day - Western News)
UPDATE: Expect long delays on Naramata Road

A semi-truck collided with a power pole and downed several lines

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Former Vernon teacher found guilty of historic sex crimes against minors

Anoop Singh Klair was found guilty of all eight charges against him in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday

The real estate market is hot in Vernon, and across the Okanagan. (John Dent photo)
North Okanagan home prices, demand continue to build

Single family home volumes up 200 per cent, worth average $647,000

An algal bloom on Wood Lake has residents concerned for the body of water's health. (Wendy Innes-Shaw)
‘Wood Lake looks seriously unwell’: Lake Country residents

Algal bloom appears to be getting worse, and stinky

A wildfire southeast of Vernon has been added to the BC Wildfire dashboard Friday, May 14, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire sparks southeast of Vernon

The fire appears to be in a remote area east of Aberdeen Lake

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Enderby’s Small Axe Roadhouse was the subject of nasty backlash after installing two busty beer towers. (Facebook)
Enderby bar’s busty beer taps to stay put despite backlash

‘Many folks have mansplained to us that we are sexist, misogynistic…’

Most Read