“Customer’s become friends”. This is apparent the moment you step foot into St. Albert’s newest guilty pleasure, Macarons & Goodies. Owner Fadoua Derbel, greets each person warmly and is happy to help them select from her case of handmade delicacies. She is more than just a French pastry aficionado, she is the heart and soul of Macarons & Goodies.
Fadoua and her husband met in university in Tunisia where they were both studying Hospitality and Management. Both driven to succeed, the couple married and followed their ambitions to Dubai where world class opportunities awaited them. Fadoua worked as the Pastry Production Manager for the famous Paul Bakery. She lead the way to expansion; helping oversee the opening of 7 new locations in 5 years. Meanwhile her husband Akram was the Executive Chef at the prestigious Fauchon. Here he was treated like royalty and often asked to pose for pictures. With one little daughter, Kenza, and another on the way, life was full and rich for Fadoua and Akram. But Akram longed to move to Canada where he had family living. Fadoua was less certain, but Akram’s determination eventually won her over.
The family relocated to Edmonton August, 2011. November 29th baby Sarah was born. The days were short but felt oppressively long. At that time of year daylight is fleeting and sunlight is a scarce commodity – something Fadoua had never experienced before. She was in a new country, a new city, with a new baby, adjusting to life being “home” but far away from home and family, and away from her career. Adjusting to the cold weather and lack of sunshine, and being homebound, all took a toll on her emotionally, physically and mentally. Canada didn’t feel like home and she didn’t feel like herself.
That summer, they took a family vacation to the mountains and the combination of the fresh mountain air and sunshine on her face had Fadoua feeling more like herself. She had a new lease on life. She worked a little when Sarah was a baby and set out to understand the Edmonton market which was vastly different than the Dubai market. Fadoua worked in a bakery for a couple of years and shared her expertise and knowledge about French pastry making. Fadoua is a true student – she has been honing her craft for years, improving, getting better, perfecting her pastries and she started studying Edmonton with the same fervor.
Macarons & Goodies is a family affair. While Akram is the executive chef at Roger’s Place, he can still be counted on to help Fadoua, and young Kenza and Sarah are eager to lend a hand as well. Sarah appears to have her mother’s passion for pastry and can name all 21 macaron flavours. She loves to be in the bakery and even has a chef’s jacket and hat; required for her favorite task, flipping the macarons.
When asked what her favorite part of owning the business is, Fadoua says “the customers” without hesitation. She makes it a point to visit every table and meet every customer. She loves good old-fashioned honesty. She values constructive criticism. She thrives on knowing what people want, so she can provide it. She is the ultimate student; always learning. It is no surprise that customers become her friends. In fact, the opening of the St. Albert location came way of some “friends”. Loyal customers and St. Albert residents started petitioning Fadoua to open a location in St. Albert, so they didn’t have to stock up every Friday! They thought Macarons & Goodies would be perfect for St. Albert. Fadoua decided to venture to St. Albert and see what her friends were talking about. After visiting the city and doing lots of research, she decided they were right. The process was seamless, another nod to its timelines, and in just over a month Macarons & Goodies, St. Albert opened its doors!
When you walk in the door you feel like you have been transported to France. The chandeliers in the ceilings, the French decor and music all blend together beautifully. They serve a variety of soups, sandwiches, crepes and who could forget the pastries that look as magnificent as they taste which are brilliantly displaced in a huge glass case. A feast for the senses.
St. Albertans have discerning taste. It is no surprise that they have warmly welcomed this little piece of heaven. In just three weeks Fadoua has already noticed that St. Albertans enjoy different flavors of macarons than Edmontonians. As she packages up her favorite desert, the Opera Tart, and some macarons for my children, she tells me she is looking forward to me being a customer. And I am looking forward to becoming her customer…and friend.
For more information visit: http://www.macaronsgoodies.com/ or have these little pieces of heaven delivered right to your door with Skip The Dishes