By: Rebecca Feigelsohn
Nadege Nourian is the France-born pastry chef whose progressive, yet traditional dessert style is revolutionizing the Toronto pastry scene. Nourian owns and manages, along with her partner Morgan McHugh, the pastry shop fittingly named for her, Nadege, which has locations on Queen Street West and at Yonge and Summerhill. A fourth-generation pastry chef, Nourian grew up surrounded by good food, inspired by her grandmother’s baking and chocolate making, and assisting her parents in managing their restaurant. Her upbringing, along with her plethora of training and experience, has led Nourian to place emphasis on the quality of her products, and ensure that the packaging of her pastry, and atmosphere of the storefront emphasize these details.
Despite the shop’s unparalleled local and international acclaim, Nourian’s journey to the top was not all bonbons and frosting. Nadege is now in its third year of operation, and Nourian is relieved that her previous twenty-two hour long workdays, seven days a week, have now reduced to fifteen hours, giving her time for a day off here and there. Despite her lack of personal life, Nourian is all smiles. She asserts, “I love responsibility and a challenge,” and she explains that all of her hard labour is worthwhile when she is able to see her customer’s overwhelming delight for her treats. Nourian is also the first to acknowledge those who have helped her get to where she is today. After studying at the Institut National de la Boulangerie-Patisserie in Normandy, she moved to London to practice her technique and notably worked alongside Stephane Sucheta and for Alan Yau, an internationally recognized restaurateur. “You always have important people in your career, but they really changed me and [my] vision…made me more who I am now in terms of concept,” explains Norian.
She thrived in the fast paced work environment as the “Sous Chef Executive” of a 60 million dollar project, where she oversaw two restaurants, a teahouse, and was in charge of a staff of twenty-five pastry chefs. Despite her love for London and her esteemed job, the prospect of opening her own pastry shop always gnawed at the back of her mind. When she met McHugh, whose father used to own the well-known Penny Farthing café, their shared dream and ambitions gave her the push she needed to turn down tempting offers from highly regarded chefs in London, and instead venture to Toronto to provide Canadians with European-inspired pastry.
The opening of Nadege coincided with Toronto’s swift surfacing on the international food scene, and Nourian and her pastries have helped shine light on the talent that Toronto has to offer. Nadege has received an abundance of international review, and customers have travelled from all over the world to taste her renowned macarons, miniature cakes, and any pastry made with the famous Valrhona chocolate. Norian’s passion for developing and creating dessert will ensure that her journey will not stop here. Although what’s in the works is being kept under wraps, its safe to say that the Nadege empire will continue to expand, possibly even beyond the Canadian borders.
Nadege is located at 780 Queen Street West and 1099 Yonge Street, nadege-patisserie.com/
Rebecca Feigelsohn is a Toronto based editorial intern for Good Food Revolution. She recently completed her BA in English at McGill University and loves all things sweet. Follow her as she profiles Toronto pastry chefs @GoodFoodRevInt