It would be so easy to spend an entire afternoon at Jin Patisserie, but only if you don’t feel bad about the other customers lined up and waiting outside the teahouse. If you’re able to snag a seat in the normally crowded place, it’ll be a high-tea experience you’re unlikely to forget.It would be so easy to spend an entire afternoon at Jin Patisserie, but only if you don’t feel bad about the other customers lined up and waiting outside the teahouse. If you’re able to snag a seat in the normally crowded place, it’ll be a high-tea experience you’re unlikely to forget.
The tables are scattered about in a small, outdoor tea garden area with a sandy floor. The ambiance – ”simple, inviting and calm – ”creates an ideal place to sip tea, enjoy the sun (if there is some that day) and taste some of the most delicious and delicate desserts with an Asian twist in Los Angeles. If you’re ever near Venice Beach, California, and you need a mini, 1-hour vacation, Jin Patisserie is the place to go.
Who is the executive pastry chef and owner behind this popular L.A. destination? Kristy Choo, a native of Singapore who has not only worked alongside renowned chefs like Joel Robuchon, Alain Ducasse and Gordon Ramsay, but has traveled the world to hone her pastry skills by competing in international food competitions like the “World Gourmet Summit,” “Culinary World Cup,” and “Food & Hotel Asia.”
It was only in 2003 that Kristy decided to open Jin Patisserie on Venice’s Abbot Kinney Blvd, a stretch of Los Angeles with boutiques and stores as charming as her sweets and tea shop.
Kristy has worked her share of grueling 14-hour-plus shifts to master the art and techniques of making chocolate and pastries. It was during these times she was also able to channel her creativity towards inventing new desserts that reflect her Asian background as well as her understanding of the American palate. Now, the tea boutique has become the canvas for her refined culinary craftsmanship and artistic expression. Kristy creates all the recipes herself and designs everything from the chocolate art and packaging for the sweets to Jin Patissserie’s decor.
According to her Website, the name “Jin” is a modified version of Kristy’s middle name
“Gyan.” Jin also means “gold” in Mandarin and refers to four Chinese dynasties.
Here’s a glimpse of what the pastry chef has to share about herself and Jin Patisserie:
ASIANCE: What’s your all-time favorite dessert or pastry?
Kristy: Chocolate, fruits and warm desserts
ASIANCE: What do you do outside of the kitchen? Do you have any hobbies other than pastry-making or chocolate-making?
Kristy: Watch my favorite Cantonese soap opera, knit, water ski and scuba dive (although I don’t have the time to do it anymore).
ASIANCE: What are the most difficult challenges you have overcome to be where you are today?
Kristy: To blend myself into the environment, mind-set and to understand people from LA; what they like or dislike, how they react to different situations, etc.
ASIANCE: What country was your most favorite to be in while honing your culinary skills? Why?
Kristy: Definitely Singapore. It is where I grew up. There is so much that I left behind… most importantly my family, my best friends, and also other good friends who are in the culinary industry. They always inspire me and I am always constantly learning from them even when they talk about their day-to-day schedule. Next would be San Francisco, where I lived and where I attended CCA (California Culinary Academy).
ASIANCE: Is it ever stressful running Jin Patisserie? If so, how do you deal with the stress?
Kristy: Yes, definitely. I always make sure that I have a nice dinner with my husband Kim. Not fancy dining but something that makes me feel content, like watching my favorite soap opera to take my mind off things. Coming home to my husband and my dog Pinky helps too!! She always brings a big smile on her face to greet me every night when I come back from my hectic or stressful job. Sometimes I have a massage as well.
What to Get
Enjoying tea sets, sandwiches and cakes are a must if you’re at Jin Patisserie and able to sit because there isn’t anything you’ll be gravely disappointed with. However, the sweets do have an edge over the savory selections.
But on your way out, here are two things you should take away with you whether it’s for yourself to eat later or to give as gifts:
I tried the 9-piece boxed set of chocolate truffles and I’d buy them for friends and family without a second thought (in fact, I already have!). There are other sizes but this is a great “starter kit” to sample a variety of chocolates. Most of the centers are filled with creamy, silky-smooth chocolate ganache accented with delicate flavors like tea, flowers, herbs or fruits. The options include teas like Haname, herbs with fruit like Mango Basil, exotic fruits like Yuzu, flowers like Lavender or Chrysanthemum and modern flavors like Salt Caramel. My favorite is the Mango Basil because it takes basil out of its usual context as an herb for savory food and instead gives it a refreshingly sweet character. The basil and chocolate make a lovely – “ and unexpected – “ flavor match.
The Yek Yek Cookies are the best bite-sized, shortbread, sandy cookies I’ve had to date. They are absolutely addicting with a moist, melt-in-your mouth texture and a tinge of buttery sweetness from the powdery coating that envelopes each button of a cookie. Each one is about the size of a nickel, making them an ideal complement to every sip of tea. According to the Jin Patisserie Website, these are traditional cookies from Singapore made from a recipe by Kristy’s aunt. Recipe
No Piece of Cake
It’s never easy to leave family and friends behind to start and run a business that’s in line with your personal goals. Kristy Choo is a great example of someone who has followed her dreams no matter how difficult the journey has been to get to where she is today. If this isn’t already sweet success for her now, then at least her chocolates and desserts at Jin Patisserie surely are.
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291