VANCOUVERITES: 6 Minutes With Shobna Kannusamy Of West Pender’s Tasty Soirette
by Jenny Bachynski | Shobna Kannusamy is the owner and head pastry chef behind Soirette Macarons and Tea, a beautiful little spot at 1433 West Pender Street. In order to keep the shop fresh and innovative, Shobna and her staff are constantly creating new macaron flavours (I’ve been lucky enough to try some of the more unique ones, like “Truffle Oil” and “Guinness”). Each is handmade and detailed to perfection to ensure that they look as good as they taste. Whether you’re keen to have an unconventional or classic macaron experience, Soirette is a must.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how Soirette came to be? Soirette has been a decade-long dream for me. I picked up baking as a hobby during university in NZ and it quickly became a passion of mine. After graduating, I decided to pursue pastry arts and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and that’s what brought me to Canada. I focused on creating a space where little delicious treats were made to resemble jewels in a pretty box, and Soirette was born.
What has been your greatest challenge and greatest success while owning a small business? Balancing time has been the biggest challenge for me, and trying to figure out how to divide my time between running the business and spending time with my family. The greatest success is having return customers who love our product. It keeps us encouraged and inspired.
Has living in Vancouver influenced your baking style? If yes, how so? We love Vancouver as it is such a cosmopolitan city and it has really played an exciting part in our flavour development and pairings. We are so lucky to live in a city that appreciates unique and exotic flavour combinations. We let the city be our muse.
Do the macaron flavours vary with the seasons? Are there any amazing items that we can only get our hands on during specific times of the year? Oh yes, they definitely do! Look out for summer and fall. I can’t wait to get my hands on fresh summer berries. To capture seasonal ingredients at their best…that is the truest form of baking. Watch for gluten-free, dairy-free macarons this summer, highlighting our best berries and fruits of the season.
Where do you source your teas from? Our teas are carefully sourced from various tea estates. Over half of our teas are organic. Our black teas come directly from Assam. All our teas are made in tea gardens that are free of pesticides. They have been selected to pair with our macarons to capture as many flavour notes as possible between a bite out of a macaron and a sip from a cup of perfectly brewed, loose leaf tea.
If you were to give Vancouverites any baking advice, what would it be? Use the best and freshest ingredients possible.
Tastiest city you have visited (excluding Vancouver)? New York City.
What was the inspiration behind Soirette’s decor? We really wanted the macarons to shine, so we kept the surroundings very light, airy and simple. That way, the focus is very clear. When you enter our space, our kaleidoscope of macarons is the first thing that catches your eye.
With what is available at Soirette right now, what is the perfect macaron/tea flavour combination? Right now, I believe it to be the yuzu macaron with our Organic Sparkling Emerald tea. The combination of pure yuzu with it’s delicate citrus notes balances perfectly with the clean fresh taste of this green tea.
If you could choose one ingredient that makes everything better, what would it be? Butter!
Find out more at www.soirette.com and pay them a visit at 1433 West Pender.
Jenny Bachynski was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. In her teenage years she packed up her bags and headed to Vancouver to pursue further education in fashion design. In 2009 she started her own small business Jenny Andrews Recycled Leather Goods, as well as her blog Jenny Loves. After starting her blog, Jenny discovered that one of her greatest joys was stumbling upon beautiful and interesting things, and sharing them with anyone who would listen.