Early January: The new year has just begun and so has the winter chill in the air. Why not find comfort and warmth in an elegant café with a steaming cup of coffee? If you live or work in Folsom, you now have a new café and patisserie to patronize: Julian’s Patisserie.
Owners Julian and Ashley Perrigo-Jimenez opened their new business this month in Folsom, Julian’s hometown. The couple says they want to provide customers with a welcoming atmosphere, in an elegant interior, where they can enjoy the smells of baked goods and fresh coffee.
As first-time small-business owners, the husband and wife worked diligently to find the perfect place for their family business: They also looked at locations around El Dorado Hills but decided in the end to stay local. “In this area, most of the businesses are independently owned and the community really likes and supports that,” Julian says.
Julian attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and later moved to Las Vegas where he worked at a number of famous casinos, including the Bellagio and Caesars Palace. Most recently, he was the executive pastry chef at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas. Customers in Las Vegas want an over-the-top experience, he says. For New Year’s, bakers would prepare desserts for 500 people, with a chocolate showpiece on every plate: “It was a lot of fun,” he says. “When people would see that, they would go crazy.”
Ashley also brings her past job experience to the bakery. She earned her degree in hospitality administration and minored in business, and then worked as an administrative assistant within different hospitality fields, which included working for chefs. “My husband’s drive and passion for pastry has been the driving force for this new adventure,” she says. “I wanted to see him creating and working for himself, and so we just decided to go for it. We sold our home and all our belongings to finance this dream.” She says she has enough faith in her husband’s talent to pursue this path.
Besides opening the new business, Julian recently competed on Food Network’s Cake Wars: Christmas. He participated as a “sugar artist” on a team that competed against seven other teams for $50,000. Each team had a sugar artist, cake artist and carver. The show premiered Nov. 14 and aired for six weeks. “It was an elimination competition,” Julian says. “We made it pretty far. It was a chance to meet new people and work with everybody. You have four hours to compete and make a display, as well as a tasting element.”
Throughout the years, Julian has taken continuing education classes to stay current in his field. He has learned new techniques, and developed skills in business management, cost control and team building.
At the new Julian’s Patisserie, Julian and his team make the croissants completely from scratch. As a patisserie, they prepare French pastries, sandwiches on housemade bread and crepes fresh to order. But the major focus is on European-style pastries — as well as chocolate bonbons. “What we have here will be unique to the area,” Julian says. “The style [is] different. I like to follow European trends and it will be very modern and very innovative.” The interior is minimalistic so the desserts stand out on their own.
Now, with his own restaurant in Folsom, Julian says he plans on continuing his love and talent for both pastry and experimentation — with the added bonus of being back in and serving the hometown he loves.