About the Chef

I am a French Pastry Chef trained at the Institut National de la Boulangerie Patisserie in Rouen, Normandie France. Before coming to the U.S., I lived, worked, and traveled all over France, enjoying the local cuisine wherever I went.

I started my pastry business in 2004 on a table on a street corner at Detroit’s Eastern Market. Week after week, the line of my clients was bigger and bigger. Some days I even sold all my cakes in one hour or two.
Except the weather, that was much colder than in Paris, everything was nice.

Around January 2005, Bob Cerrito, the owner of a pizza place located in front of the market, proposed to me to come inside his place to sell my cakes. I have to say that it was an unexpected treat. I was about to turn into ice that day!

It was the beginning of a collaboration of several years until Bob decided to sell his place. I will never forget him; he gave me the opportunity to bloom in a warm place. Some people are just nice. Thank you Bob!

Saturday after Saturday, I wove links with my clients. My English becoming better and better, I was able to enter long conversations about cooking with other people that, like me, love food. So it was natural that the idea of teaching came to me, which I did through community education programs, my first kitchen being too small at that time.

After several years of success, different opportunities came to me

  • Opening a pastry shop
  • Working for a gourmet restaurant
  • Teaching more

First, I worked as a pastry chef at The Lark restaurant in West Bloomfield, MI.  I stayed for a very short time and even if the experience was unique, I missed the direct contact with clients. Opening a pastry shop never really tempted me. One of my big selling points is to cook for my clients no earlier than the day before he or she eats the cake. That’s not very realistic in a shop. In addition, the idea of keeping a refrigerated window full whatever the hour of the day didn’t please me. For me, a good pastry is the one that you just cooked several hours before you eat it! I think it’s for that reason that grandmothers’ cakes are so popular. They are made with 2 major ingredients: love and time.

So after considering all these different options, I decided that the only way to combine teaching, cooking, and continuing to create new recipes was to do them all in my own professional kitchen.  So I built it.

It took me a year to find a good location, Ann Arbor, and a good contractor, David Haig. (I had already found a good husband to support me in that long process.)

After moving my business to Ann Arbor, I sold my pastries at the Plymouth Farmers Market for a short time and at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market for five years.  I've also been teaching classes in my kitchen, providing macarons to Lab Cafe, and baking pastries for special occasions such as my annual bûche de Noël sale at Christmas.  I've now "retired" from selling at the Farmers Market and am focusing my energies toward my classes and special events. 

 

See you soon.
Your favorite pastry chef,

Cecilia Mercante

Recognition

My pastries have been featured in the Detroit News, Hour Detroit Magazine, and the
Detroit Free Press. My “Salmon with Champagne Sauce” recipe was featured in the
December 2007 Hour Detroit Magazine.