BEST of San Francisco 2016 / South of the City
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La Vie en Rose
Debora Ferrand—Owner, Mademoiselle Colette
Twenty-fifteen will forever be known as the year Menlo
Park received a much-needed dose of Parisian chic.
Who is the woman responsible? The gorgeous Debora
Ferrand, owner/founder of the charming French pâtisserie
Mademoiselle Colette, located in the heart of
Santa Cruz Avenue. A classically trained pastry chef,
entrepreneur, wife, and mother to four boys, Ferrand
has poured her heart and soul into the venture. “I’ve
done everything myself,” she relates, “from the decorations,
the design, the menu, and so on. It’s been
a joy to work so hard and see my vision come true
after so many years. (Ferrand has had her heart set
on opening a shop like this since graduating from
culinary school in France in her 20s). The design and
the details have always been on my mind. I brought
the cups over from Paris in my luggage. And the logo
alone took six months to perfect.”
Ferrand attended the Cordon Bleu and furthered
her mastery of delicate pastries at the Ducasse
Institute École Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie
where she rubbed shoulders with chef Jean-Marie
Hiblot, of the five-star Plaza Athénée in Paris. Over
the years, Ferrand and her family traveled the world
while living in Paris, Singapore, and Austin, Texas.
“When we arrived in the Bay Area, it was my time,”...
Debora Ferrand is at the helm of Mademoiselle Colette in downtown Menlo Park
by LINDA HUBBARD GULKER
Stated simply, Mademoiselle Colette, a patisserie that opened in downtown Menlo Park a month ago, is the talk of the town. That it’s an instant hit has surprised owner Debora Ferrand.
“I never imagined we’d have so many people so soon,” said the Atherton resident who moved to the area a year ago. “We are selling out of some items and are hoping people will be patient with us. We are still ramping up staff and training people.”
Debora, who is a chef herself but is not in the kitchen at Mademoiselle Colette, is putting in the long hours of a chef, arriving around 5:00 am. She brought pastry chef, Orphée Fouano, from France to oversee the kitchen, which has windows so patrons can see what’s being prepared.
The day we stopped by they had added brioche to the offerings, which also includes tartlettes, eclairs, croissants, along with lunch items like croque monsieur and brunch items like eggs Florentine. There’s a patio in the back of the patisserie where people can sip champagne and enjoy cheese and charcuterie. “We’ll see how long the patio stays open,” Debora said. “When it gets chilly, we’ll probably close it until next spring.”
Debora says she’s had the idea of opening a patisserie for a decade, and the business plan to go with it. “But we moved around a lot,” she explained.
Debora wanted to stress that Mademoiselle Colette is not a restaurant, despite lunch and brunch items. “It’s self-service with people ordering and taking the items to the tables themselves,” she said. “We’re aiming for a relaxed atmosphere where people can enjoy a pastry or bite to eat.”
That she’s found a spot on Santa Cruz Avenue and seems to be fulfilling a need is gratifying to Debora, who was born in Brazil but raised in France. “I’m glad to have come to Menlo Park,” she said. “All of this makes me so happy!”
Mademoiselle Colette is at 816 Santa Cruz Avenue, in the space formerly occupied by Sugar Shack. ...
Mademoiselle Colette brings a taste of Paris to Menlo Park
by Elena Kadvany
Sleepy downtown Menlo Park has woken up with the arrival of Mademoiselle Colette, an elegant French patisserie that has sold out every day since opening last month.
Owner Debora Ferrand, who was born in Brazil but raised in France, has successfully imported some of the best elements of Parisian dining to the Peninsula. She opened the pastry shop at 816 Santa Cruz Ave., the former home of Sugar Shack, in early October.
Mademoiselle Colette (named after a late family member) serves classic French pastries, brunch and lunch menu items, coffee, tea and wine. The patisserie was packed on a recent weekday morning, with the indoor tables full and a line in front of the gorgeous glass pastry case. Delicate pastries -- lemon and chocolate tarts, merveilleux, moelleux au chocolat, raspberry eclairs -- sat atop white marble counters. Employees were replenishing the diminishing stock as I left later that morning.
One of Mademoiselle Colette's most popular menu items, the pain au chocolat ($4), is small but satisfyingly crisp, and the chocolate on the inside packs a rich punch. Ferrand said the patisserie's pastry chef, a young French man named Orphee Fouano, makes two to three kinds of chocolate that become the innards of the pain au chocolat, often referred to as a chocolate croissant in English.
Hiding inside the merveilleux ($5.50), a ball-shaped cake that originated in Belgium, is cream and a meringue so light it dissolves in the mouth. The exterior is covered in chocolate shavings and topped with a small chocolate sphere stamped with the name of the shop.
Mademoiselle Colette doesn't stoop to using American butter. Instead, they bake and cook with French butter that Ferrand said has "much more fat" than its American counterpart.
All the pastries are served on charming mix-and-match plates -- some with delicate designs, others scalloped with thin gold rims -- that make you feel like you're visiting a Parisian apartment. Espresso is served in beautiful gold-rimmed black cups. Sugar cubes are available in small silver buckets.
Inside, the space is thoughtfully decorated. Framed French drawings adorn the walls, and there's a display of black-and-white French postcards and books penned by French novelist Colette. ...
Photos by Veronica Weber
Locally Owned Pastry Shop Mademoiselle Colette Deserves Our Support
Debora Ferrand is the mother of four children, a speaker of four languages, and the restaurant owner of Mademoiselle Colette, a french pastry shop on Santa Cruz Avenue that opened just under a month ago.
For Ferrand, this “was a dream for so long.” She advises students who want to go into the restaurant business, “don’t give up because its a very hard business, a lot of work and very competitive.” Ferrand began dreaming of opening up a place in her later 20s, and “was preparing [Mademoiselle Colette] for almost ten years, waiting for the right moment.” Before moving to California, Ferrand and her family lived in Singapore and France. She was waiting to settle down in a new location before opening up her store. Ferrand jokes that she has a deal with her husband that it’s her time to choose where they stay, and they plan on being in California for a long while.
Ferrand realizes that the “place is too small… we have a queue in front of the shop before we open until 3 p.m.” As they often sell out by early afternoon, people can place special orders on pastries three days in advance. According to Ferrand, “every day we are trying to make more, but the problem is the size of our kitchen. After a certain point, we can’t produce more… we hope people will be understanding.”
“In the beginning I was looking everywhere to be honest,” Ferrand notes, saying it was hard to find a prime location for her shop. However, when she saw the opening in Menlo Park where Sugar Shack used to be, she had a coup de coeur, or love at first sight. Ferrand decorated and designed the restaurant herself. Mademoiselle Colette currently has six employees, including Ferrand and pastry chef Orphée Fouano.
Her favorite pastries to make are macarons, and when asked if she plans to host pastry classes, she replied “later on yes, I would love to do this.” While most of the ingredients used at Colette are organic and locally sourced, Ferrand imports butter from France. She chooses to do so because “the butter from France is completely different. The butter from the U.S. is more water and less fat. For the croissant to be a real croissant, you need the butter to be fat.” She elaborated that the butter ideally should be over 82 percent fat, while in the U.S., butter tends to be more around 80 percent.
Ferrand recommends a pain au chocolat or a plain croissant for students seeking an affordable, satisfying treat. She acknowledges the business needs to move to a bigger location as they “need much more room to keep” pastries and she hopes that “we will make everybody satisfied very soon.” A close co-worker of Ferrand asks people to be patient, and think of Colette as a pastry shop, rather than a restaurant because their shop is so small, and their focus is on producing French pastries.
If you are craving a chocolate pastry, the pain au chocolat at Colette is by far the best one in Menlo Park. While I have heard various complaints about the prices at Colette, I regard Colette as a pastry shop, a place for only occasional indulgences. It is true that the prices are high, but their desserts are rich, artfully displayed and meant to be a special treat. Relative to other cafés in the area, Mademoiselle Colette’s prices are not an extreme anomaly.
While some have taken issue with the small size of the restaurant, their primary focus is on selling pastries, not serving a large brunch crowd. Even though the store is small, there is a courtyard in the back that could fit a sizable group and where dogs are allowed, which I find to be a plus. Colette does offer a brunch menu that is more on the expensive side, but as a student, I recommend the shop as solely a place for picking up a pastry for breakfast, or a more elaborate piece for dessert or as a gift.
The staff was friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere of the shop is unique. Overall, my experience at the restaurant was positive. It should also be taken into account that the owner is a local mother of four that has a child at M-A, with a unique idea to open a French pastry shop and pure intentions regarding buying local ingredients. For this, I believe she deserves our support.
I recommend going early before they sell out of pastries to try a croissant. This shop is one for trying an exquisite dessert, not for sitting down to a leisurely breakfast with family.
Mademoiselle Colette, now open in downtown Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany
Downtown Menlo Park now has a piece of Paris with the opening of Mademoiselle Colette, a French patisserie serving pastries, lunch, brunch and wine.
Mademoiselle Colette opened this week at 816 Santa Cruz Ave., the former home of Sugar Shack.
A sign on the door of Mademoiselle Colette reads "sold out, sorry" during the new patisserie's first week of business.
Mademoiselle Colette owner Debora Ferrand, an Atherton resident who was born in Brazil but raised in France, had been searching for a place to open a pastry shop since moving to the area about a year ago. She moved to Atherton after living for several years in Texas, where she attended Le Cordon Bleu with an emphasis on baking and pastries. She also studied at the School of Alain Ducasse in France.
Ferrand also brought on board a young French pastry chef, Orphée Fouano. Fouano was most recently working at Hôtel Plaza Athénée , a top Paris hotel.
Mademoiselle Colette serves traditional French pastries – croissants, eclairs, macarons, tartlettes, madeleines – as well as salads, soups and brunch items.
For lunch, there's a Nicoise salad; a "Colette Parisien" salad with jam, gruyere, tomato, asparagus and artichoke; and a buratta salad, among other items. There are also savory tarts, quiche of the day, croque monsieur ($10.50) and croque madame sandwiches.
The brunch menu includes dishes like eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine. Treat yourself with the "Royal Brunch" – foie gras and truffle eggs with a "Viennoiseries" basket of select pastries; your choice of tea, coffee or chocolate; and orange juice -- for $25.
Mademoiselle Colette serves a few French wines by the glass and by the bottle. Head over for happy hour and nibble on a cheese plate, charcuterie plate or foie gras plate.
The patisserie is open Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.