The confection, a croissant-doughnut hybrid that the SoHo bakery launched in May, has gained popularity and fame beyond anything Ansel ever imagined, he told Business Insider.
But there is more to Dominique Ansel Bakery than the croissant-doughnut hybrid.
“I think it’s important to understand we have so much more,” Ansel said.
“I invite people to come and just to look at the bakery case and see what’s around. It shows all the pastries and what we can do. It’s not only about one product. It’s not only about the cronut. It’s about everything else in the bakery and everything has a little story or charm and magic into it.”
Here are 10 reasons to visit Dominique Ansel Bakery besides the Cronut:
1. Small-batch baking
Five or six batches of items are baked throughout the day — the cookies every 30 minutes — to ensure they are warm and fresh for purchase.
“One of my child memories was going to the bakery with my mum and my grandma like three, four times a day just to get bread. Just to get fresh bread that was coming out of the oven,” Ansel said. “That’s something that I really want to bring to the bakery. That’s why we do a lot of fresh-baked items.”
The chef has been approached numerous times about franchising and expanding the bakery but for fear of sacrificing quality, he said he isn’t interested.
“There’s always something hot coming out from the oven and people love that aspect of the bakery — the freshness, the quality,” he said.
2. The Garden
Behind the bakery is an enclosed jardin where guests can enjoy a coffee, pastry and lunch.
3. The “DKA”
“Dominique’s Kouign Amann,” the chef’s signature item, was selling out every day long before the Cronut.
“It’s a specialty from France and I put a twist on it,” Ansel said. “I make it much lighter — a lot less butter, a lot less sugar — something very light, gooey in the centre and caramelized on the outside. It’s very, very tasty. I eat one, actually, every morning.”
The bakery offers two soups, five sandwiches and three salads that Ansel said are “tasty,” and his standards are high.
5. The MadeleinesThe bakery makes the traditional small cakes to-order. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
“I refuse to bake them ahead of time and put them in a bag,” Ansel said. “They get dry, they get cold, it’s not the same experience as when you have those fresh. it’s so much better.”
6. The Paris-New York
Ansel’s version of the Paris Brest is made with peanut butter, chocolate, and caramel instead of with hazelnut cream.
The tiny space is visible through a glass wall so patrons can see items prepared.
8. New Menu Items
Ansel said he constantly challenges himself to create new things and as a result, the lunch and pastry menus change every six to eight weeks. The changes have kept the daily customers for long periods and many visit multiple times per day, according to the chef.
9. The Atmosphere
“When I started working on the bakery, I really wanted to bring some French spirit, some French quality of the food, I wanted the atmosphere to be relaxed and very New York style and I wanted people to come in and feel like they could grab a pastry and stay and grab a cup of coffee and stay and have a good time.” Ansel said. “Nothing makes me feel better than to see happiness in people face when they eat my pastries. To see them really enjoying it and having a good time with their friends.”
10. Ansel Himself
Before the Cronut exploded, Dominique Ansel was already an accomplished and renowned chef. He was the Executive Pastry Chef at Daniel in New York City for six years and a 2013 James Beard Award finalist for Best Pastry Chef.
He’s in the bakery day in and day out, and a genuinely nice guy who is clearly passionate about what he does. Order the bakery’s new Frozen S’more, and you can watch him personally torch the dessert to perfection.
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