UNVEILED 10 Masthead

La Sable pâtisserie: magnifique

Sophia Dickinson

La Sable: a slice of France comes to Mitchell

I don’t usually write about food, but when I met Benjamin Turner, pastry chef and owner of La Sable Pâtisserie, Canberra’s newest patisserie and chocolaterie, I really wanted to tell his story. I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45am one morning to have a chat to Benjamin and his partner Kate Lennox and to see them in action.

Benjamin and Kate opened the doors of La Sable on early March; it was the result of years of hard work, passion and determination for this young Canberra couple.

Kate and Benjamin, owners of La Sable Pattisserie.

Pastry chef, Josie,  and Benjamin Turner, owners of La Sable Pattisserie.

The dream started for Benjamin 10 years ago when he began his apprenticeship as a pastry chef. Since his second day, he told me, he wanted to run his own business under the name La Sable. It’s French for pure white sand, and also a type of French biscuit, he informs me. Benjamin trained at Illawara Tafe, before returning to his hometown of Canberra.

Benjamin, 25 years old, met Kate, 24, three and a half years ago following a car accident that left him in need of rehabilitation, which happened to be Kate’s specialty as a personal trainer. The pair soon discovered what a great team they made, Kate being analytical and Benjamin being creative.

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Over the next three years the couple worked together towards running their own business. Both holding down full-time jobs, Kate in administration and Benjamin at a local bakery, they had to work nights and weekends to establish themselves. Benjamin made birthday, christening and wedding cakes from home and Kate took care of paperwork and liaising with clients. The hard work took its toll when Benjamin, a chronic asthmatic, found himself in hospital with pneumonia. They also discovered a build up of flour in his lungs. But Benjamin, with Kate’s support, persisted with his dream, as it means he gets to do what he loves, which is “worth the stress” he says.

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In 2014, the couple started talking seriously about opening their own patisserie. Benjamin won the chance to go to Melbourne to train one-on-one with Australia’s top pastry chefs and chocolatiers, including Kirsten Tibballs and Paul Kennedy. When he got back to Canberra, they began their search for a place to produce their products. They got the keys to their Mitchell store in September 2014, and started the fit-out, a lot of which Benjamin did himself. The result is a stylish shopfront with outdoor seating as well, and plenty of room out back for Benjamin to make his creations. Kate designed the smart staff uniforms herself, consisting of a black shirt and pants, with a grey vest, because she didn’t want black on black.

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I first heard about La Sable from my sister, who told me the macarons were the best she’s had since we went to Angelina’s – one of the oldest and most famous tearooms in Paris. We went for brunch on a Saturday morning, so I had the bacon and egg roll – a bargain at $10 with a coffee. It was a generous serve of thick-cut bacon, fried egg, choice of tomato or barbeque sauce, cheese and, on the day I went, a deliciously buttery brioche roll. It was the best bacon and egg roll I’ve had in Canberra!

The next time I went, I tried the cherry ripe macaron and took some hot cross buns to work to share. The macaron didn’t even make it home, I couldn’t resist tasting it in the car. And my sister was right – it was as good as Angelina’s! A delicate pillow of cherry-flavoured sweetness, perfectly balanced by the smooth chocolate ganache centre.

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Cherry Ripe Macarons.

I managed to keep the hot cross buns until I got to work – although I had already tried one straight out of the oven at La Sablebut they didn’t last long. The fresh, spicy aroma wafted out of my bag as I walked into work, so I served them straight away. That morning Benjamin had made them with an indulgent brioche dough and a custard crème pâtissière cross. I love hot cross buns and I often give into temptation when I see a new flavour, so I’ve eaten a lot of them, and these are my favourite.

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I’ve got a sweet tooth so naturally I went for the sugary delights, but La Sable has a great range of savoury treats too. The cabana pepper quiche caught my eye – it’s filled with smoked pork cabana sausage, basil and chilli. The sausage rolls come in six different gourmet flavours that are rotated daily. The meat comes fresh from Dickson Butchery, which is owned by Benjamin’s parents.

La Sable is quickly establishing a regular clientele of people who work in Mitchell. While I was there, three local workmen came in for a coffee and some pies and sausage rolls. One of them told me he discovered La Sable the day before, and came back again that morning with two mates. They all agreed it was “delicious!”

Kate, a trained barista, knows the importance of consistently good coffee too. “You can’t have cake without coffee,” she tells me. La Sable is one of the few Canberra businesses to serve Black Mountain coffee, a locally roasted blend.

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The ambitious young couple told me their focus for now is growing the business, and in the long-term they hope to go wholesale. Although it’s been an exhausting start to the year, they delight in serving their artisanal products made from scratch in-house using fresh ingredients.

A great place for morning tea, brunch or to get something for a special occasion, La Sable is the kind of place you’ll want to visit again and again for your regular favourites, whether it be a croissant, macaroon or something savoury, and to discover Benjamin’s latest delicacies!

the essentials

What: La Sable Pâttiserie
Where: 6/83 Lysaght Street, Mitchell
When: Monday to Friday, 6:30am to 4pm, Saturday 7am to 2pm
Call: 6241 2966
Email: [email protected]
Follow: La Sable on Facebook

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Sophia Dickinson

Sophia is a true Canberra girl having been born and raised here, and she now works in the public service. She loves Canberra for all it has given her from a great education, fulfilling work to opportunities to indulge her love of dance and music. She is passionate about travel and writing, and studied post-graduate media and communication. She has appeared in several local amateur theatre productions, although she prefers to be an audience member these days. More about the Author

  • Liz Posmyk

    Love La Sable… just amazing… and what a gem to have in Mitchell.

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