Pastry whiz Nick Kemball will be opening his own patisserie later this fall. It'll be called Libertine Bakehouse and will be in St-Henri — the exact location is TBA, but it will be somewhere in the vicinity of Lionel-Groulx metro station.
Kemball tells Eater that the concept behind Libertine ties in closely with its name. "It’s going to be a pastry shop with a bit of an eccentric side. When dreaming up the project we wanted to give ourselves the freedom to get creative, break the rules a little and get bold with flavours."
Having worked under Patrice Demers at Patrice Pâtissier until March this year, as well as doing an internship at New York's three Michelin starred Eleven Madison Park not long before, Kemball has ample experience with classical pastry crafting. But he said running his own shop will allow him to create some even wilder desserts.
"I’ve always had a bit of a campy and quirky side and in most of the places I’ve worked before I’ve kind of had to rein that in a bit. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had was working on the dessert cart at Grumman ‘78, we loaded it up with so many desserts that it felt like the wheels were going to burst," Kemball recounted. "That was such an expression of the way I wanted to work and it left an impression on me. I have a background in classic pastry but I don’t like to be precious with my flavours."
Kemball is partnering with designer Michael Ayoub (from design firm Mookieyams) to open the bakehouse, who Kemball promises is going to make the bakery's design into its own drawcard. "It’s going to be a really offbeat space...where you come equally for the experience as well as for the dessert."
The pair have been working on it since March, and gave Libertine its first outing last weekend at the YUL EAT festival. They previewed two menu items: a cherry soda pavlova and a Paris-Brest with a sucré-salé twist on it (both pictured above).
"[It's] like a chou puff filled with praline cream but we amped it up with a bit of miso paste to add cool salty sweet dimension to the dessert," explained Kemball.
The rest of the menu is still in development: more to come in late October when the Libertine team hopes to open their doors.
- Libertine Bakehouse [Official]