Soraiya Nagree’s career didn’t always revolve around meringues and buttercream. And although she compares her popular macarons to truffles and plays with her flavor profiles with such ease, her initial career path had nothing to do with the culinary arts. In fact, it’s hard to believe that Nagree was formerly a bowling ball engineer, albeit a self-proclaimed horrific bowler. But you are what you eat or so they say, and being the brains behind La Pâtisserie, she fits the part – petite, dulcet, and cute as a button, but smart as a whip.
At the age of ten, Soraiya Nagree embarked on a family trip to Paris and came back a changed person. She became enamored with all things French, but more specifically, macarons. Walking into Paris’ most well known Pâtisserie, La Ladurée, a young Nagree was mesmerized by all the colors and flavors of these wonderful sweets. The experience stuck with her for the rest of her life.
When Soraiya relocated from San Antonio to Austin with her husband, she made the decision to study at Le Cordon Bleu-Texas Culinary Academy instead of continuing her engineering career. Since then, she hasn’t looked back. Accumulating awards from Austin’s Chocolate Festival for "Best Cookie," "Best Fudge," "Best Dessert" and "Best Brownie" every year since 2006, it’s apparent that baking was Nagree’s true calling.
When it came time to scouting a location for La Pâtisserie, the location practically found her. “It just so happens that we fell in love with this house and I had wanted to do this for twenty years. We weren’t looking to do [the shop] yet, but we came across this house and I knew we had to,” explains Negree.
The house, located in the South Austin’s Bouldin neighborhood, boasts a Parisian flare with the warmth of a county home. The eye-catching display cases offer a colorful assortment of uniquely flavored macarons, ranging from peach basil to root beer, as well as delightful eclaires, tarts and my childhood favorite, mille-feuilles.
It’s a dream come true for Soraiya Negree and she should be proud – La Pâtisserie is likely to bring out the child in all of us, as well as transport us to a small village in France.