In a house full of chefs, Patrick Choy was an outlier. He didn’t like to cook regular meals, like dinner. He preferred desserts – and often tells the story of the theft of his sister’s Easy-Bake oven and learning the basics of her future career like a doll.
âWe had enough cooks,â he said of his family, who owned a restaurant in Hawaii and whose members include older brother Sam Choy, famous in the Poke restaurant.
Born in Hawaii, Choy cut his teeth at the Marriott Hotel company, initially at a single hotel, and rose through the ranks to a corporate pastry chef position created for him. Now he chairs Patrick’s CafÃ© and Bakery at White Center.
It’s a place that reminds you of the bar in “Cheers!” if it was sweets, not beer.
âI consider this to be my home, and I want people who come here to feel that this is also their home,â Choy said.
He greets workers and customers alike, squeezing me a scone, a piece of coconut cake, coffee, and a haupia cinnamon roll – topped with Hawaiian coconut lime pudding rather than cream cheese frosting. It makes it impossible to say no, and I wasn’t sorry (I offered to pay – an offer Choy declined).
The store, a cute little house with outside seating and umbrellas for protection from the sun or rain, is small, but includes a small kitchen where the staff cook up recipes created by Choy that remind him of home. . Her haupia cinnamon, lilikoi (passion fruit), shortbread and coconut and macadamia cookies (Choy’s favorite) remind her of all the flavors and foods of the islands.
Coffee’s offerings aren’t limited to sweets. There are also savory options, including a Hawaiian-style breakfast that includes spam or Portuguese sausages as alternatives to bacon and rice in place of potatoes (bacon and potatoes are also available). Kahlua pork, kimchi fried rice, and lumpia are also on the menu. Musubi spam also got the photographer’s thumb for this story.
COVID has taken a toll on a lot of restaurants. Choy was able to offer take out and curbside pickup and thus weathered the worst.
âAbout 90% of my business is takeout anyway,â he said.
The two-week shutdown gave him the opportunity to thoroughly clean the place, and once stores were cleared to open for take-out, he did. He chose not to deliver because the companies doing the deliveries take too big a share of the revenue.
Although he is doing quite well during the pandemic – albeit with shorter hours – at the end of July, Choy believed he would have to close for lack of employees. Many of its current employees were returning to college after more than a year at home. Despite a few months’ notice, he was unable to find staff. He eventually told his clients he was considering closing, and they came up with recommendations and referrals. During the interview, Choy had four new people in training and was breathing easier.
Another pain of the pandemic is the supply chain problems that so many businesses suffer from and the rising cost of the goods he manages to get his hands on.
âI’m paying over $ 300 for a case of gloves,â Choy said. “I don’t make money with the gloves on.”
When Choy was little, the rule at home was, âif you want to eat, you have to cook,â he says. “But I was the youngest. I used to harass the staff [at the family restaurant] to feed me, and my mother would go mad. “
He must have taken some time to cook when he was short of workers, but Choy can’t wait to get back to work and come up with new vacation recipes and new ways to ‘Hawaiian’ food. He makes Irish soda bread to which he added fruit and a popular pumpkin pie with haupia. He also returned to designing and making personalized wedding cakes.
Sometimes there is a dream to retire to Hawaii and sell only their chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies in a cart. But Choy is hoping that he can successfully return to normal business hours on pre-COVID days and continue to greet those who walk through the little green door like ohana, who is Hawaiian for the family.
Patrick’s CafÃ© and Bakery is open Thursday through Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Disclaimer: While some products, services, and / or accommodations in this article have been provided free of charge, all opinions in this article are those of the author and editorial board of Seattle Refined. .