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From Doha to Toronto: Bakery Patisseh’s Journey

Bakery Patisseh
4 min read

If you think fancy fondant cakes don’t taste as good as they look, you would be pleasantly surprised to try a decadent slice by the Toronto-based bakery Patisseh.

Meet Sanya Ali and Natasha Adnan Masood, the dynamic sister duo behind the Patisseh. They have devoted years mastering the precise science of baking. Baking a simple cookie batch can take anywhere between two to three days (accounting for hours that the cookie and icing are left to rest). And, believe it or not, the consistency of icing during cookie decoration can either make or break your finished product. A complex, multi-layer cookie batch can take three to six days from preparation to packaging.

Sanya and Natasha, originally a banker and lawyer, by profession began teaching themselves about baking before reaching the mastery to develop their own techniques and flavors.

From training in Doha, Qatar to setting up Patisseh in 2018, these busy bakers take pride in the joy that their sweet treats bring to their clients. After all, what’s a special occasion without a cake to behold?

[Read Related: An ode to Childhood: Tutti Frutti Tres Leches Cupcakes]

 

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Anum: Is the name ‘Patisseh’ a tribute of sorts to the South Asian dessert called ‘Patisa?’ Why did you decide to keep this name for your brand?

Sanya: It is! As children, growing up in Lahore, Pakistan, one of our favorite traditional sweets was the Patisa.

When we started exploring names for our company it emerged as the perfect name, especially after we decided to soften the pronunciation to better suit our local clientele. So yes, you can call it a tribute to our old favorite.

A: Before moving to Toronto, you were living in Doha, Qatar. Did you start Patisseh as a business there? What was the inspiration behind Patissehs handcrafted desserts?

Sanya: I started my business in Qatar as a home business under my name. The laws there did not allow for small businesses to be registered. My time in Qatar was mostly spent training, getting my certifications and practising by fulfilling orders for people in my community. Natasha on the other hand ran her own confectionery business in Tehran, Iran before moving to Canada.

When we both moved to Toronto, we decided to get together and start a confectionery business, which we named Patisseh. We were excited to share our passion for creating delicious, high-quality desserts and were absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to be working together. So in short, the one true inspiration for Patisseh is our love for each other and scrumptious treats!  

 

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A: How is setting up shop in Toronto different from the Middle East?

Sanya: Patisseh is an online licensed bakery. We use commercial kitchens and have two pickup locations in midtown Toronto. It was a breeze to register our company and get it licensed by the local authorities in Toronto. The entire process was streamlined and we found it easy to work with. 

A: Quality ingredients over quality packing? Or both?

Sanya: Always both! You must have heard the saying, ‘you eat with your eyes first.’ We take immense pride in the quality and taste of our products and feel it would be a shame to package something so luxurious and in inexpensive packaging.

 

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Patisseh’s pre-COVID-19 cookie decorating classes became so popular during the lockdowns that followed that Sanya and Natasha created beautifully packaged, themed cookie DIY kits for kids to enjoy safely in their homes.

A: Patisseh promises to handcraft each order and make it as whimsical, elegant or colourful as the occasion calls for. As confectionery artists, how do you incorporate your client’s needs and preferences for their special occasion?

Natasha: For me, a good conversation with the client is the most enabling tool in producing a beautiful product. I feel I am able to decorate my best if I’ve had an opportunity to understand what they are looking for, who they are celebrating and what the occasion signifies.

My favorite conversations are with husbands ordering cakes for their wives’ birthdays. More often than not these men are nervous and unsure of what a birthday cake for a grown woman should look like. It’s nice to hear them talk about their wives’ favorite colors, preferred flavors, party details, etc. I almost always suggest tall, elegant cakes decorated with fresh flowers. And the best is their expressions of glee and wonderment when they come to pick up their cakes! 

During Covid we made a “lawn sign” cake because our client really wanted to celebrate her husband’s 40th birthday with a big bash, but the husband was adamant about no announcements or fuss. So a lawn sign cake was her way of getting a little taste of an actual sign she could’ve liked put up for everyone to see.

[Read Related: How to Turn a Store-Bought Cake Into a Diya-Shaped Dessert Centerpiece]

Patisseh recently launched a cookie campaign to introduce and support fellow small businesses post-COVID-19 lockdowns in Toronto. Every week, Sanya and Natasha design and create a sugar cookie based on the business logo of a local business. They photograph it in front of their business to encourage community support.

 

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In the past two years, Patisseh was a part of many, many happy celebrations and milestones. These include virtual corporate events and birthday/anniversary parties during this pandemic. On a personal note, I really quite enjoyed the Harry Potter-themed, divine chocolate fudge cake that Patisseh created this year for my niece’s magical birthday! 

Doing a DIY cookie decorating kit crafted by Patisseh would truly be the perfect way to spend one of these lazy afternoons with my 7-year-old daughter, marvel at my inexperience with icing and then indulge in the buttery goodness of Pattiseh’s delicious sugar cookies!

Patisseh believes in on-hand learning and sharing their craft and unique recipes with the foodie community. I for one, couldn’t be more pleased! Their upcoming samosa-making class caught my eye and I’ve saved the date, folks!

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