The love of fine pastry is a passion which not only forged love between Sophie and Richard Le Deunff, it has also taken them halfway around the world in a journey that has led to the Gold Coast.
Aux Fines Bouche, meaning ‘In good taste’, first opened in Adelaide twelve years ago but, for the stability and longevity of both the business and their family, the couple decided to make a move north, investing in a property in the Burleigh industrial area, opening in late 2019.
At first glance, their location may seem incongruous, a fine pastry shop located in a Taree Street warehouse backing onto the humble My Saigon Kitchen.
But there’s a message here: “Richard believes that everyone should be able to afford fine food,” Sophie tells us. No pretense, pastry is the show.
It’s fine pastry indeed, from a master pâtissier, who we can see at work through the picture window.
Born in the north of France, Richard trained and honed his skills in Lausanne before travelling through Europe as a chef in large chateaux, his sense of adventure bringing him to Australia to work in the Stamford Plaza in Adelaide.
In 2009 at the Grand Stanford in Glenelg, Richard’s life changed. A cake he was carrying in his hands drew the attention of Singaporean-born Sophie, now his wife. Completing a degree in International Business and Accounting in Canberra, Sophie was on holidays in Adelaide, visiting the hotel for morning tea with a friend.
“I must tell you that the cake drew my attention first,” Sophie tells us, laughing, saying that she was overcome with awe at the skill of a pâtissier who could make a such wondrous creation. Richard introduced himself, asked Sophie out and a year later he proposed in the hotel where they had first met.
2009 was also the year that Richard fulfilled his dream of opening his own pâtisserie business, Aux Fines Bouches, firstly as a wholesale business and then as a pastry shop in Brighton.
(By definition, a pâtisserie makes fine pastries, danishes and brioche rather than bread, most French bread in both France and Australia baked from dough prepared elsewhere, as bread requires different skills and a kitchen of different temperature to pastries.)
It’s a labour-intensive process, with Richard handcrafting every element – fillings, glazes and toppings – crafting his own praline, roasting, caramelising and grinding nuts, even making the chocolate leaves to complete his creations.
Honours and awards soon followed: Best Pâtisserie 2015 South Australia by Restaurant and Catering Awards (an award that gave Richard the confidence to move into fine pastries, Sophie says), Instructor and Mentor at Le Cordon Bleu since 2015, and South Australia’s Pastry Chef Of The Year awarded by Gault & Millau in 2018.
Beside Richard, the person who shares his dreams is Sophie.
“Pastry chefs are like superstars to me,” she tells us, describing each pastry in the shop’s display cabinet in detail. There, they sit like soldiers, each one decorated with its own top knot of honour, awaiting the customer’s instructions.
In total, Richard makes 64 desserts. About one third of them are traditional French pastries, the other two thirds are Richard’s own creations. Whether it be an original piece dedicated to one of his daughters, such as Pomme d’Eva, Ombuk Rindu (Waves of Desire) a pandan and coconut mousse creation dedicated to his wife, the flavours celebrating her Indian and Middle Eastern heritage, or his famous Fabergé eggs, Richard invents amazing desserts on a regular basis, merging world cultures with French techniques to bring unique copyright creations to customers.
“All the fruit pastries have a heart of fruit compote surrounded by mousse and couverture chocolate on the outside,” she says. They sound perfect already, and we haven’t tasted them yet!
So what of their future plans?
Sophie tells us that post-Covid, the couple plan to open their ‘House of Deserts’ a mezzanine dessert experience on their premises so patrons can dine in rather than just taking away pastries and coffee. We can’t wait!
Aux Fines Bouches, 2/43 Taree St, Burleigh Heads Ph: 07 5522 0323 OR0487 200 489 (Preorder)
Open: 8am – 4pm Mon – Fri, 8am – 1pm Sat – Sun
NOTE: One photo credited to Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours.