First Look: The Tempered Room brings “a modern twist” on the French Pâtisserie
Image: David Ort
As of three weeks ago, Bertrand Alépée, one of Toronto's best known itinerant chefs has a new home. His pâtisserie, The Tempered Room opened in Parkdale in the space on Queen West that used to be The Brown Sugar Bakery.
"I don't really love the word, but it's kind of a 'food hub'," he says. "I wake up in the morning, something pops into my mind and you know what, I'm just going to do it."
Alépée trained in France where the traditional hotelier curriculum included everything from cooking to housekeeping, so he has a sophisticated understanding of hospitality. Age and his time in Toronto have softened any stubborn commitment to the French cannon of dessert preparation he brought with him to Canada as a 19-year-old. "The root is French," he clarifies, "but I always like to add a modern twist to things."
That means that, for instance, the Pomme Caramel Salé ($5.75) has a sesame macaroon base and a salted caramel mousse inside its glaze. Or that one of the three choux ($2.50) flavours currently in the case has both a Concord grape jam and a peanut-butter-cream filling.
The space was designed – literally by Alépée himself with chef Tyler Lang on hammer-and-nail duty – to be a storefront attached to the production kitchen for their catering operation, The Tempered Chef. Even with the added demand from the storefront they continue to cater everything from dinner parties for ten to weddings for 500.
To accommodate special events in the space all of the counters are on wheels and the table unsnap from the walls. This will come in handy on December 1 when Alépée hosts a special dinner by The Group of Seven Chefs, a chef collective he belongs to.
He emphasizes his eagerness to showcase the best work of other chefs and bakers and points out that he brings in bread from The Drake, Thuet, and Blackbird.
The Tempered Room is open from 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Saturday and from 9 am to 7 pm on Sundays. Given 48 hours noticed they can make scaled-up versions of their desserts or fill large quantity special orders.
The Tempered Room, 1374 Queen St. W., 416-546-4374.
In addition to covering beer, new restaurants and food trucks for Post City, David Ort writes about food and drink for several Toronto publications including his own site. He is the author of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook; now in stores and available for ordering online. For more of his thoughts on food, beer and life in general, follow him on Twitter or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.