Melissa Chou, the star pastry chef formerly of Mister Jiu’s, has thrown again open a bakery window in Chinatown. Grand Opening to start with open as a month to month pop-up in 2019, when many black sesame cake and egg tart admirers hoped it would turn out to be a permanent fixture. In the course of the pandemic, the window went dark. But now, even while Chou no extended works for Mister Jiu’s, Grand Opening is popping again up at Mister Jiu’s each and every weekend, and Chou is handing lovely cakes, pies, and pastry boxes out onto the purple lantern–strung alley.
Melissa Chou is an SF native who grew up in the Sunset and baked by way of Aziza and Mourad right before becoming a member of as the opening pastry chef at Mister Jiu’s, conceiving and top the dessert menu by four decades and one Michelin star. Grand Opening is her 1st solo venture, and it was just firing up as lockdown descended: Chou states her very last working day at Mister Jiu’s was scheduled for March 20, 2020. She flew to New Zealand to check out relatives, intending to stay a summer months, but as an alternative extending for a lengthy pandemic 12 months.
But she’s back again in the bay — with burnt honey pie. Chou states she acquired a loaded appreciation for Chinese-American bakeries whilst functioning in Chinatown, but Grand Opening is genuinely a reflection of her particular flavor and type. “I was completely ready to try out my possess thing… ” Chou claims. Immediately after a long time of working in good-dining places to eat, “As a pastry chef, I was normally in discussion with the cafe, the chef, the savory menu …. Grand Opening felt like my opportunity to make standalone goods that I required to make.”
Grand Opening at the moment offers a brief and sweet menu, with a number of cakes, a couple pies, and a pastry box. The burnt honey pie starts out like Americana typical buttermilk pie, but wild honey offers depth and dimension to the custard, with swishes of beeswax product piped on top rated, and bee pollen sprinkled in excess of. The Parisian egg tart is totally diverse from the jiggling very little egg tarts of Chinatown it is thick and deep with rich custard, flecked with vanilla bean, and torched on top. The sponge cake is a nod to the Chinese bakery traditional, with light and airy levels of blackberries, jasmine mousse, and ginger custard, which will swap out seasonally.
The pastry box is scaled-down than some — not a dozen products, but a combine of 4 unique pastries: A bolo bao or pineapple bun, stuffed with a various custard or cream week to 7 days, these kinds of as cherry and product cheese or apricot and lemon verbena. A cocktail bun or chicken tail bun, flavored equally with the regular coconut and a twist of passionfruit. A spouse cookie, which in this scenario folds black sesame frangipane and chewy mochi into a pastry crust which is tender with lard. And a excellent and crunchy cookie, at this time peanut and toffee.
Complete cakes, pies, and pastry boxes are accessible for preorders each and every Friday and Saturday from noon to 12 p.m. But if that sounds like much too huge of a determination, you can stroll up for slices on Sundays from 10 a.m. until eventually offered out. Chou, nonetheless, refuses to dimensions down for more compact versions, which a lot of pastry chefs played all over with in the course of the pandemic, but can turn out to be laborious. Additionally, she maintains her creations will keep effectively for several days, and encourages you to acquire a cake for the 7 days. “Why would not you?” Chou says. “A good deal of individuals invest in cakes for particular occasions and at the weekend. But I consume dessert just about every single night. So I do not see why you would restrict oneself, individually.”