Gateau Ghost Bakery Rises from Pandemic Lockdown Ashes

Toronto-based pastry chef Jayden Park opens his new bakery, Gateau Ghost, in Dufferin Grove, after turning pandemic job loss into an opportunity to reinvent himself and his craft, featuring unique madeleines and pastries that blend Korean flavors with French techniques. The bakery's launch marks a triumphant moment in Park's journey of self-acceptance as a queer individual, showcasing his culinary creativity and resilience in the face of adversity." This description focuses on the primary topic of Jayden Park's new bakery, Gateau Ghost, and his personal journey of self-acceptance and reinvention. It highlights the main entity, Jayden Park, and the context of the pandemic and its impact on his career. The description also mentions the significant actions of Park's culinary creativity and resilience, which led to the launch of his new bakery. Finally, it provides objective and relevant details about the bakery's offerings, which will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content.

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Nitish Verma
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Gateau Ghost Bakery Rises from Pandemic Lockdown Ashes

Gateau Ghost Bakery Rises from Pandemic Lockdown Ashes

Jayden Park, a Toronto pastry chef, opens his new bakery Gateau Ghost today in Dufferin Grove, turning pandemic job loss into a chance to reinvent himself and the humble madeleine. Park lost his position during the 2020 lockdown and used the time to focus on pastry-making and self-acceptance as a queer individual.

"In the machine of the restaurant industry, I was just another cog—worn out and at my breaking point, only to be replaced and forgotten," Park reflects. He channeled his culinary creativity into crafting madeleines with unique flavors and rich fillings, which became a hit on Instagram. "Pastry is often seen as feminine. I was secretly intrigued, but I was also closeted, and I didn't want to be perceived as weak or unmanly. Now I know that being queer doesn't equate to weakness," Park shares.

Park's path to pastry began early. At age 11, he became the youngest person in his hometown of Incheon, South Korea to earn a cooking license. He later attended Woosong University on a full culinary scholarship and served as personal chef to South Korea's minister of defense. In 2016, Park moved to Canada, drawn by its cultural diversity and support for newcomers and LGBTQ+ communities.

After stints in the kitchens of Buca and Dandylion in Toronto, the pandemic layoff pushed Park to launch Gateau Ghost as a virtual pastry shop in 2022. Entrepreneur Randall Papineau partnered with Park to expand to a brick-and-mortar location. "Jayden's aesthetic was just so fresh, hip, queer—it really captivated me," Papineau says.

Gateau Ghost features a comprehensive menu with pastries, brunch, and lunch options. Park's ultra-buttery, hyper-indulgent madeleines take center stage, beautifully decorated with piped fillings and decadent toppings. His Korean heritage shines in dishes like a bulgogi-stuffed twist on croque madame and spicy sausages.

The success of Gateau Ghost empowered Park to come out to his mother over Zoom, constrained by pandemic restrictions. Jayden Park's journey from job loss to joyful authenticity, poured into pastry, marks a sweet new chapter for Toronto's culinary scene. Gateau Ghost opens its doors today, inviting the city to savor a taste of resilience, reinvention, and unabashed queerness.

Key Takeaways

  • Jayden Park, a Toronto pastry chef, opens Gateau Ghost bakery in Dufferin Grove.
  • Park lost his job during the 2020 lockdown and used the time to focus on pastry-making and self-acceptance as a queer individual.
  • Gateau Ghost features unique madeleines with rich fillings and Korean-inspired dishes.
  • Park's journey from job loss to entrepreneurship empowered him to come out to his mother.
  • Gateau Ghost marks a new chapter for Toronto's culinary scene, celebrating resilience and queerness.