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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sucré

Don’t you wish there was a “taste” button on your computer screen?

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When I began planning my travels to New Orleans I knew that I would not be leaving without a visit to Sucré, the famed bakery that has been featured in countless magazines, travel guides and news stories.

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As a writer I always research my travels to the 9th degree. This is due to some faulty hardwiring within me that fears I might miss something fabulous if I don’t read every scrap of information available. I therefore had read quite a bit about Sucre’s famed pastry chef and founding partner, Tariq Hanna.

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During my research I began to formulate in my mind what he might look like. Yes, it would have been easier just to “google” his name, but what fun is that? When thinking about French pastry chefs what comes to your mind?

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Perhaps if you add in a smidge of this…

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…Sprinkle in a bit of boyish charm,

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…Perhaps a dash of laughter mixed with big hearted talent and you would almost have the essence of Chef Hanna.

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When I spotted the ruggedly handsome Hanna  sporting pierced ears, spiky hair and a goatee, I immediately relaxed and thought “Now this is my type of chef!” This thought was further reinforced when he later revealed an image of a Fleur~de~lis tattooed on his arm.

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Chef Hanna was born in Nigeria and attended boarding school in England. Upon moving to the Detroit area to study architecture, he instead fell into culinary school.  The reasons behind this decision are stories that are his to tell. 

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After completing his studies, Hanna worked as a breakfast cook in a diner where he attempted to keep the waitresses happy. He then tried the graveyard shift at a Dunkin Donuts for six months simply because he liked donuts. After that, he owned and operated his own gourmet shop, Northville Gourmet, for five years.

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Other jobs came and went. He also became involved in several competitions with the Food Network and the American Culinary Federation.

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During this time he met his future wife, Jennifer. The mere mention of her name brought a crystallized gleam to his eye that was lovely to see. Jennifer loved the Big Easy and passed on her love to Tariq. The two eventually married in New Orleans prior to Katrina.

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The devastating hurricane could not dampen their love and enthusiasm for the city. A meeting made of true kismet occurred when Hanna met his business partner, Joel Dondis. Within a short amount of time everything was put on the line and the two decided to open Sucré. Hanna left a well paying job in Detroit for a future filled with unknowns in a city, that five years later, is still in the midst of recovery.

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It appears to be a sweet gamble that has paid off. Sucré has become well known for it’s magnificent desserts, handcrafted chocolates and of course the French macaron. The shop believes in the concept of sustainable baking~meaning that they try to use regional ingredients from farmers and businesses in the New Orleans area. 

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Chef Hanna subscribes to the Stan Lee notion that “With great power, comes great responsibility”. While he receives great joy in the happy faces of his customers, he also has the desire to give back. He often can be found in classrooms sharing his knowledge and love of pastry, as well as donating his time to several fund raising efforts. Pictured below is his French bulldog, aptly named Bon Bon, during a fund raiser for the SPCA. His other dog is named after a well loved British comedian, which provides a glimpse of his sense of humor. 

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He credits his parents for instilling in him the admirable traits and characteristics of which he possesses. Indeed after our marathon chat session I couldn’t help but feel blessed to have met him.

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I imagine that his future will continue to shine and the goals he has set for himself will be met. With each success I hope he rewards himself with his favorite dessert which surprisingly is quite humble and can be found in most grocery stores.

My hope for your future is that you experience and enjoy several of his irresistible masterpieces. Beware, you can shop Sucré online.

SUCR_F~1  I hope that you have enjoyed this installation of my ongoing tour of New Orleans. It is a vibrant city full of culinary and visionary experiences that should not be missed.

Thank you to those who have participated in the Make It Right Foundation team Decor To Adore. We have currently raised $50 in support of the efforts to rebuild.

The generosity found within the blogging community never ceases to amaze me.

Laura

22 comments :

Kathy said...

Fabulous Laura...
Simply fabulous!
and I soooo enjoyed touring New Orleans with you.
Your taste buds must have been in Heaven!
Wonderful tour!
Thank You!!!!!!
xoxo~Kathy @
Sweet Up-North Mornings...

cityfarmer said...

I watched Julia everyday in black and white when my kids were little.
I would take notes and then once in a while, try the recipe.

great post ... and I was hungry, too

confused homemaker said...

I remember seeing him on various shows & every time they'd mention his Detroit connection, my heart would sing! Detroit is a great place, even if it's a little rough around the edges. I've been really enjoying your tour around New Orleans, we've been talking about talking the whole family down to visit one day. It's a strong place with so much beauty.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

What a touching story Laura!!! TFS this!!!! And YEP!!! I wish there was a 'taste' button on my screen! LOL! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

My Cottage Charm said...

Hi Laura! :) This post made my mouth water....made me want chocolate or a cookie. I settled for a strawberry yogurt..I'm trying to be good. :) That is one lovely looking store...all bright and airy and I bet it smells better than it looks! lol
Looks like your trip was wonderful and fun. :)
Have a blessed day
Missy :)

OneCraftyFox said...

The most delicious post of the day!!!

PAT said...

I absolutely enjoyed catching up with your posts, this morning. Thank you so much!

AshTreeCottage said...

Thank you so much for this lovely post. What a talented chef indeed!!

Love,
Susan and Bentley
xxoo

Shelia said...

Hi Laura!! OH, what a wonderful place. I haven't been there and the goodies look wonderful. I'd almost settle for one of the gorgeous boxes!! When you say Hanna, I think of Hanna Barbara - cartoons! Makes me smile. Mr. Hanna looks like a great guy and there's no question that pretty lady at his side is most fabulous! :)
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Jingle said...

Yes. To answer your question, I do, indeed, wish there was a taste button. Wow! Those look amazing!

Everton Terrace said...

I'm starting to feel like I've never been to New Orleans at all and I have actually been several times. You make me want to go back and see all these little gems. I'm dying to know his favorite dessert AND I'm dying to get my hands on that tower of macarons!

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

What a fabulous trip you had. I have never been to New Orleans, but the food appeals to me! And those sugar treats...yum!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Mouthwatering gorgeous desserts!

fairfieldhousenj.com said...

You are killing me with all this scrumptious food blogging. Sucre is worthy of each sweet word posted and the king of King Cakes.

Your Friend,
Deborah

Loui♥ said...

Oh Laura..
I am so loving this extended tour of New Orleans..am not ready for it to end..
and the treats..uuuuumm!!
please keep on sharing your beautiful words, photos and experiences!
I for one am just loving it all!!
hugs!
Loui♥

Debby said...

Yummy Yummy. You had a great trip.
Yhanks for stopping by my blog. Thanks for the prayers. She is a tough cookie in many ways. She refuses to be "old". So sad as all of her friends are passing on as her brother and sister. She keeps on plugging. She is doing volunteer work today at the hospital.
108 degrees.....how do you do it. We had over 90 with a higher heat index but 108 that is unbelievable. Take care in that heat.

Debra@Common Ground said...

You've had such a wonderful opportunity to connect with the true heart of New Orleans, I've been enjoying each post, but this one is really "sweet"!!
xo,
Debra

Liz said...

Fun Post! I mean Sweet Post! he he he
I love beautiful bakeries. Beauty and food just go together!

~Liz

Terri said...

Too pretty to eat.... I take that back.

Janean said...

yeah, i tried to lick my computer screen, but no taste... JUST KIDDING. what amazing desserts!

Miss Sandy said...

How fun! Next time I am in the area I will look up this delectable place.

Stephanie said...

I love this store. The chocolate is so good and it's just so pretty. I'm glad you got to discover this.