Gaby’s Gourmandise to Open Authentic French Eatery at Grand Rapids Downtown Market
Posted on January 20, 2021 by Downtown Market
The Grand Rapids Downtown Market today announced that Gaby’s Gourmandise, an authentic French patisserie, will open in the Market Hall in early spring. Gaby’s Gourmandise, owned by Chef Jean-Gabriel (Gaby) Ferrandon, will offer both sweet and savory authentic French and French-inspired items.
Chef Gaby, who hails from France, has over 20 years of culinary experience. He was classically trained in fine dining at Fontiville culinary school and honed his skills in Paris for over six years. He also worked as Demi-Chef Partie at both a 2-Michelin star Alain Ducasse restaurant and at La Tour D’Argent, a 3-Michelin star restaurant that is among one of the oldest restaurants in Paris. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Chef Gaby served as Executive Chef in restaurants throughout San Francisco, as well as Tasting Chef and Manager in a large, fine dining catering company. He also spent over ten years as a culinary instructor in Berkeley, California at Kitchen on Fire teaching sweet and savory baking, fine dining, and themed cuisine from countries around the world. In 2018, Chef Gaby began the search for a location to grow his own business venture, Gaby’s Gourmandise. Ultimately, Chef Gaby and his wife moved to Grand Rapids to be closer to family and to be part of the booming West Michigan food community.
Since August 2020, the Downtown Market Incubator Kitchen has been home to Gaby’s Gourmandise. “Operating my business out of the Downtown Market’s Incubator Kitchen gave me an opportunity to maximize profitability,” said Chef Gaby. “The flexible fee structure, the professional grade equipment, and the dedicated services provided through the Incubator Kitchen made establishing my business in Grand Rapids an affordable reality.” Shortly after establishing his business in Grand Rapids, Chef Gaby became a vendor at the Fulton Street Farmers Market. Customers quickly recognized and appreciated the care and quality of his items, which cultivated a loyal base of French food enthusiasts.
“I have a deep desire to share my love of food with my community,” he said. “I don’t cut corners with my products. I utilize my skills, classic training, and desire for excellence to craft high quality items. I make all of my own doughs from scratch, and I am determined to utilize the freshest and finest ingredients from local sources as much as possible, with a few refined ingredients from France.”
To further infuse the flavor and decadence French food is known for, Chef Gaby makes use of some key classic French ingredients. The Palet Breton cookie, a favorite of customers, uses fleur de sel, meaning ‘flower of salt’ in French, which is a luxurious, hand-harvested sea salt from the Brittany region in France. As for chocolate, he utilizes Valrhona, which is widely considered to be the world’s finest chocolate produced only in the small village of L’Hermitage, France.
“It’s ceremonial in a way, to allow yourself to pause for a moment and savor a delicious cookie or tarte,” said Chef Gaby “I want my creations to inspire customers to take a moment for themselves to fully indulge in the flavor and enjoy every bite.”
Gaby’s Gourmandise will feature galettes, cakes, tartes, Viennoiserie, crepes, cookies, and a variety of other classic French pastries including éclairs and mille-feuilles. Savory menu items will include a selection of French snacks, sandwiches, quiches, pies, salads, soups, and stews. Vegetarian and vegan options will also be available as both sweet and savory menu items.
“Chef Gaby’s passion for French pastries and cuisine is inspiring, and we are thrilled to grow our relationship as he expands from the Incubator Kitchen into the Market Hall,” said Mimi Fritz, president and CEO of the Downtown Market. “The Downtown Market is the regional destination for innovative food experiences, and Gaby’s Gourmandise fits perfectly with a fantastic combination of tradition and originality.” Aligning with the original vision of the Downtown Market, Gaby’s Gourmandise will be the second Downtown Market Incubator Kitchen tenant to graduate and establish a permanent location in the Market Hall within the past year.
Gaby’s Gourmandise is expected to open in early spring and will be located in the space currently occupied by Sweetie-licious Bake Shoppe. Despite great success of the Downtown Market location over the years, Linda Hundt, owner of Sweetie-licious has decided to downsize her business and close the Grand Rapids location. This transition will allow Linda to focus on her original location in DeWitt, and happily spend more time on her farm and grand parenting. It is anticipated that Sweetie-licious will continue to fully operate at the Downtown Market until Friday, February 26.
“Since 2013, as an original tenant of the Downtown Market, Sweetie-licious has seen amazing success. While we are sad to hear of Linda's decision, we are grateful for all she and her team have added to the Downtown Market over the years, and for taking a leap of faith with us as we launched the Market in 2012. We wish Linda the best of luck in this new chapter for Sweetie-licious,” stated Fritz.