Part-time chef who's worked in some of Toronto's top kitchens starts a new side hustle
A part-time chef in Toronto is now striking out on his own and starting up his own personal side hustle after having worked in some of the city's top kitchens.
Jayden Park has started a madeleine business Gateau Ghost, but instead of plain madeleines like we typically see them, they're taken up a notch with inventive toppings and flavours like Naughty Ganache, Frosty Flake and Liz Lemon.
It's certainly different from his work at restaurants like Alo, Buca and Joe Beef, and his current job as first cook at splashy hotel restaurant Casa Madera.
"I love working as a chef but it's really demanding. The hours and schedule are really tough and it was hard to find a happy balance between work and life. And then during the pandemic I was laid off and for the first time I felt lost, I questioned what I should be doing," Park tells blogTO.
"I took some courses in UX design because it seemed to offer some creativity in an industry that was in demand. But it just didn't fulfill me in the same way and I missed cooking too much. That experience showed how much I love cooking, so I started thinking about how I could continue cooking without the stress of corporate kitchen life."
That's when he decided to start pursuing his own business and began planning last September.
"Madeleine is a classic dessert but now it's a forgotten dessert that people don't eat as much but it seemed to me that it has a lot of potential to make it more interesting and appealing to people again if I put my culinary knowledge and experience into it, because classics last forever," says Park.
"I can confidently say that nobody has ever seen madeleines like mine before. I have six different types of flavours and they are all covered and filled with delicious ganache, fillings and toppings. Also, they are extremely moist compared to regular madeleines."
The Naughty Ganache has a nutty ganache and hazelnuts with a Ferrero Rocher on top, the Frosty Flake has sweet corn ganache and Frosted Flakes, and the Matcha-tachio flavour has matcha, pistachio and mascarpone ganache.
Variety or custom boxes of six madeleines for $29.95 are available for pickup at partner cafes like Milky's.
"It's not easy to find a balance between my part-time job and my business. I think a lot of young professionals can relate to my situation. Sometimes I wish that I had a lot of money so I can simply quit my part-time job and put all of my time and effort into the business, but unfortunately, that is not my option," says Park.
"But instead of complaining about my life, I decided to spend most of my free time on my business and I believe this will all pay off eventually as long as I put myself 100 per cent into it."
It seems to be taking off so far: at his first pop-up in December, Gateau Ghost completely sold out of all the madeleines that had been prepared.
"I was actually worried that I might have prepared too many of them since it was my first pop-up of this business, but very luckily a lot of people showed their interest and support," says Park.
He's hoping to eventually add more flavours and possibly different types of desserts and dreams of opening a physical store in Toronto one day.
"It's not an ideal situation to run a business while you are working part-time somewhere else, but I understand that with the circumstance that I'm in, I need this hustle to be able to live the life that I want to live," says Park.
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