Oh mon dieu. "Kid in a candy store" doesn't even begin to describe the awe and excitement induced by the plethora of encased treats at the heavily anticipated opening of La Pâtisserie Chouquette (1626 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-932-7935) last week. But unlike just any sweets shop, pastry chef Simone Faure's dessert takes a decidedly mature, refined French approach, focusing on the delicacies of baking and pastry in both its intricate and sublimely simplistic forms.
When asked to sum up her shop in a handful of words, Faure says, "French. Chic. Posh. Stylish. Couture. Me. It's very me. Not the way I dress -- I'm not a stylish person. This is as stylish as it gets. [Laughs] But the me that's in my head? This is it."
On an overcast Tuesday at 7 a.m., doors at the bake shop in the Botanical Heights neighborhood open to a rapt audience of dessert worshipers. A friendly front-of-house staff, made up of pastry proteges clad in matching sky-blue aprons, carefully restock and straighten displays between greeting incoming customers.
Faure buzzes amid the throng, cheerfully conversing with her clientele, somehow eloquently disguising how tired she must be. We later learn that she has a two-year-old at home. How does she do it? "I'll sleep when I'm dead," she says, with a smile. We admire her passion pour la vie.
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