You’ve got to love New Year’s resolutions. My special high protein, no carb diet was working so well. The morning was warm and sunny like most Newport Beach days, and my writing assignment took me to the home of a friend. Unfortunately, she happens to be one of the most talented bakers in Southern California. My diet and will power were being severely tested because I arrived to a table full of freshly-baked homemade scones, cookies, vegan truffles and freshly brewed coffee. My friend Elyssa was just doing what she does best…sharing her craft.
Cosmopolitan New York City was the training ground for this Southern California bakery chef. Elyssa Fournier, a California elementary school teacher, landed in New York looking for new teaching opportunities that never presented themselves. While waiting for the desired new job openings, she started baking. To bake was a hobby and part of well-deserved relaxation therapy, after spending long hours of work standing up at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Baking soon became her greatest passion and, thus, her enthusiasm led her to search for culinary schools. As the great French philosopher Denis Diderot said, “Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul of great things.”
Not knowing where to start her search, one day after work she decided to call the fancy restaurant next door. She was passed onto the restaurant’s pastry chef. He willingly told her that he could only recommend one school, the French Culinary Institute, also known as the International Culinary Center. The pastry chef happened to be the dean of the school, and he suggested to Elyssa that she gain some experience before choosing any school. Elyssa responded right away by asking, “Can I work at your kitchen?” and he responded in agreement.
At that time, she had no idea that the fancy restaurant she called was the iconic and famous “Le Cirque,” a French restaurant in mid-Manhattan founded by Sirio Maccioni. She also had no idea that the kind pastry chef on the phone was Jacques Torres, most commonly known as “Mr. Chocolate.” Torres was famous and had earned numerous culinary awards, such as the James Beard Foundation Pastry Chef of the Year, the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the chef of America’s Pastry Chef of the Year, Chartreuse’s Pastry Chef of the Year, and many more.
Elyssa gained a stage at Le Cirque under the direction of Chef Torres, while attending the French Culinary Institute, where she finally earned her degree in pastry arts. She also worked at other New York city bakeries, such as Musette, Café Indulge and Le Pain Quotidien.
While covered in flour and sugar, our baker found love. She met Yves Fournier, a French chef, who today is the Executive Chef of Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine restaurant in Irvine. There’s nothing like a New York City love story. You’ve Got Mail, An Affair to Remember or Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the city has always been a perfect backdrop for love, and, thus, our protagonists were captivated by the New York romance, which finally culminated in marriage. Happiness was brutally interrupted on September 11th, 2001. That day represented a change, of course, for humanity, and so the couple decided to return to Southern California.
After readjusting to the new environment, the couple ended up working together at Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine. Here, Elyssa would spend five years as head pastry chef, until deciding to launch her own full-fledged bakery. Mixed Bakery is the result. The quality of the products and the inspirational French and American baking result in a unique and endless collection of tarts, muffins, cookies and French pastries. She works with caterers and event planners, serves up baked goods at private events and sells directly to individuals and retail outlets. Elyssa’s dream will again be realized by the opening of her new bakery by the end of 2016.
Contact Elyssa at 949.903.2253 or visit Mixed-Bakery.com
The quality of the products and the inspirational French and American baking at Mixed Bakery result in a unique and endless collection of tarts, muffins, cookies, and French pastries.