Around nearly every corner in Bloor-Yorkville is something unexpected and unique. Perhaps an art gallery, coffee shop, or boutique fitness studio that you hadn’t yet spotted. This never-ending discovery is part of what sets our neighbourhood apart from others and what makes it an always-exciting place of exploration. That said, situated in a particularly quaint enclave at 1 Sultan Street, is The Dessert Lady’s newest location with its gorgeous storefront set inside a brick heritage building. Led by chef Mandy Kan, known for her iconic desserts, the second location is (in her own words) Where Sweet Meets Savoury.
At 6 years old, Mandy fell in love with food. After her mother brought her to a Thai restaurant, her passion for creating was sparked and she spent a full 10 years as a child working to recreate the flavours from that particular dish. After graduating with a Business Degree, Mandy was determined to follow her passion and left for New York City where she enrolled herself in the French Culinary Institution. The 6-month intensive program included weekly exams which included critical evaluations of ones work (including but not limited to a top tier chef examining the cut of your chocolate truffles…) an experience that truly set the foundation of Mandy’s culinary work ethic.
At that time, the restaurant landscape in Toronto was vastly different than it is today, with many restaurants opting for wholesale desserts in order to forgo the risk of a potentially weak profit margin. Unable to break into the local industry and knowing she didn’t have enough experience to open her own business, Mandy began pursuing high-end restaurants hoping to learn from experienced chefs. Her opportunity came from a Ritz-Carlton in Florida with a starting role working in their 5 diamond-rated hotel. For a young chef up to the challenge, it was a demanding, yet career-changing opportunity requiring 5 brand new dessert features per week, plus chocolate truffles, and seasonal menu development. After 18 months and 4 promotions, Kan returned to Toronto bringing her Florida-honed legacy as the official “Dessert Lady” with her. After facing 21 lease rejections, The Dessert Lady found her home in at 20 Cumberland Street in Bloor–Yorkville, a neighbhourhood she had aspired to be in.
With the launch of their Sultan Street flagship location, it was Mandy’s opportunity to pursue her first culinary love and create a full-scale menu offering. Her focus with The Dessert Lady is to reiterate the importance of simple and fresh ingredients and the understanding that a higher price point isn’t necessary.
“The people who come to Bloor-Yorkville truly appreciate quality ingredients and high-quality products… We have regulars now who we see every day.”
Of course, the new location features a full selection of the desserts that have become a staple of our neighbourhood, but the expansive space allows for much more. Specialty coffees draw in a regular morning crowd, along with homemade tea-based drinks and an impressive breakfast menu (including on-the-go items for busy mornings). There’s also an impressive selection of Build-Your-Own-Avocado Toast ingredients, as well as an expansive selection of classics like oats, parfaits, and omelets. The lunch menu has an exciting offering of globally-inspired dishes like stuffed peppers, lettuce wraps, soups, and a variety of grilled sandwiches.
Mandy often travels to find inspiration for her dishes and gain further training, which is the type of commitment she hopes to foster in the next generation of chefs. Having recently trained in Thailand, the menu is full of creative options for almost every palate. As of summer 2019, the team will be launching a fully-licensed outdoor patio, so we’re confident we’ll see many of you enjoying a happy hour in the sun!
You can view the creative new menu and learn more about the restaurant here.