While Justin Carpenter was raised in Hong Kong, he is making quite the mark on the pastry scene in his adopted hometown of Charlotte. We first discovered Justin’s delicious macaroons and pecan brownie bars at a pop-up at the SouthPark location of Williams-Sonoma. From the first bite we knew that these were the most delicious pastries we had in a very long time, and they had just the perfect amount of sweetness.
In this interview Justin shares about how he started J Patisserie, his favorite pastries from his fall/winter menu and were he hopes to take J Patisserie in the future.
When did you first become interested in pastries?
It didn’t start with pastries for me, I actually became interested in cooking thanks to my grandparents. It wasn’t until I took a trip to Paris that I first fell in love with both the city of Paris and pastries. Here (in the US) pastries can look good, but they don’t necessarily taste good. I went to all of the Charlotte bakeries to check them out before I started my business 5 months ago to see what void I could fill with J Patisserie.
People often ask me why I do what I do. It’s not about just making cupcakes or cakes… It’s about the creativity and art. It’s not just about sweets.
Do you have culinary training or are you self-taught?
I was self taught since I was ten. My grandmother loved to cook, so that’s when I got into it. Grandmothers make the best food! I just love the trial and error process. I practice and practice until I perfect it. It can look easy, but in reality it takes a lot of effort and dedication. I may spend all week in the kitchen, but it doesn’t feel like work because I’m doing what I love.
You started J Patisserie, an online based bakery just five months ago… when did you first come up with the concept for the bakery?
Everything at the bakeries that I was going to was overly sweet. I wanted to tone that down and to make bakery goods where people could see that I was harnessing both the art of baking and creativity. The buttercream that I have tried before is always way too sweet, while my buttercream is light and fluffy. I felt like there was a need for a good bakery where the pastries not only look good, but don’t taste overly sweet.
I love the branding on your pastry boxes, who did you work with to create your branding for J Patisserie?
I actually designed the boxes and the logo myself. I wanted something contemporary and modern. So I went with something that had both a modern look with an element of the traditional as well.
Pecan Brownie Bars
Out of all the pastries from your fall/winter 2019 menu, do you have a personal favorite?
Coconut macarons because they are hearty and indulgent at the same time. There is no added sugar and they are only 60 calories so that makes them perfect for snacking on. I’m always making extra and sharing them with friends.
Famous Pumpkin Pie
Your macaroons are available at one of my favorite markets to visit (Pasta & Provisions)… how did you come to collaborate with them to carry your macaroons?
I just literally walked in and talked to them. I took a leap of faith and it just worked out. It doesn’t hurt to ask just go in and approach them and see if they have interest in your product. Don’t care too much when you’re going into, not everything is going to work out. You have to think about yourself.
What do you enjoy the most about having pop ups at Williams-Sonoma?
I can meet a lot of different people. I love meeting new people and getting to talk with them. Seeing a different culture, getting inspiration in the process.
Any hints on what you have planned for your spring/summer 2020 menu?
Tons of new stuff is coming and I’m importing lots of new flavors. It will be really fun and floral.
Justin Carpenter | Owner & Baker – J Patisserie
Do you plan for a brick and mortar Location?
I’m hoping to open my store front by 2021.
Keep up with J Patisserie through the following links
All images in this post are via Justin Carpenter of J Patisserie