196 dreams Janjou Pâtisserie: Labor of love from Israel

By Scott Ki / Photography By Laurie Pearman | June 05, 2013
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Food has the power to nourish, sustain and evoke deep emotions. In Moshit Mizrachi-Gabbitas’ case, the pastries and savories she makes at her Boise bakery also evoke the memory of her mother, who passed away in 2002.

Mizrachi-Gabbitas’ bakery, Janjou Pâtisserie, lies sandwiched between a nail salon and a jewelry store, across the street from where Joe Albertson opened his first grocery. But the roots of her shop lie thousands of miles away in Tel Aviv and Paris.

Moshit officially opened the “artisan boutique bakery” at the start of 2013 with her husband Chuck Gabbitas. Unlike other bakeries in Boise, Janjou oozes modern design with an interior filled with stark white decor and clean lines. Orange aprons and flashes of brown reflect the warm hues of freshly-baked croissants, pain au chocolat and bostocks, a type of almond brioche, displayed on the short end of an Lshaped glass case. Desserts like Austrian cheesecake, fruit tartlets topped with vibrant red and blue berries, lemon meringue cakes and savory quiches rest on the longer end. Clear plastic tubes filled with sable cookies, crinkles and small palmiers line shelves along the wall.

Moshit says her pâtisserie wouldn’t look out of place in Israel. “Design is part of the experience when you go to a restaurant or coffee shop there.” She adds that her mom’s sense of style also was an influence.

The spirit of Moshit’s mother inspired more than just the look of the bakery. Janjou is named after her mother Jan. The “jou” at the end is a nickname, or term of affection, like “Scotty” for Scott. Moshit talks about her mother in the bakery’s kitchen as she slices dough for palmiers with a hot pink knife and tosses them with sugar in a mixing bowl.

“My mother was one of the most influential people in my life,” Moshit says. “She was a very meticulous hard person and things needed to be her way. And as much as I would like to think I’m different, I’m not,” she says with a laugh, “I’m exactly the same.”

Although Moshit worked full time in Israel as a manager for SCP Global Technologies, a semiconductor equipment company based in Boise, she balanced her professional life with taking care of her mother when she was gravely ill. “When my mother passed away there was a big void in my life. I just didn’t know what to do with my time.” The death of her mother required Moshit to learn how to cook in order to feed herself while living alone in Be’er Sheva, a place she describes as much like southwest Idaho with a high desert climate minus the winter snow. She began with simple recipes and tackled more complex ones over time.

Moshit says, “Cooking relaxes me. It’s like therapy.” She prefers to bake because the craft requires attention to detail. “You have to be precise because the proportions are so important.” She adds, “I come from a family of crazy people. We are all very meticulous. I realized that with baking that’s a trait that you need.”

With her semiconductor industry contract nearing its end, Moshit decided to reinvent herself as a pastry chef. She attended night school for six months to learn how to bake. She then used paid time off from work to intern at a pâtisserie in Tel Aviv named Mazzarine, whose owner and chef had trained in Paris at bakeries like the legendary Ladurée.

The first hint that Moshit’s love for baking could lead to a new career occurred while still employed at SCP. According to Chuck, “She www.edibleidahosouth.com 55 started saying I’m going to be a baker. I didn’t take her seriously at first. Then, one day, she took about 15 to 20 cakes to work and she sold out of them.”

Moshit and Chuck, who also worked for SCP, had been dating during this time. Soon after the semiconductor contract ended, they moved to Boise, where Chuck had lived, in 2007. They married later that year.

Moshit found further affirmation of her baking skills at their wedding. Instead of relying on their caterer, Porterhouse of Eagle, for desserts, she decided to bake her own. Porterhouse owner David Faulk was so impressed by the tarts and cakes Moshit created, he told her he’d carry them if she ever decided to bake professionally.

Faulk says, “I was blown away by the quality and presentation of the desserts she was making. In fact, it was intimidating catering her wedding because I hoped the quality of our food matched hers.

Besides Porterhouse, the Boise Co-op, Atkinsons’ Market and Rosauers also have stocked Janjou’s cakes and cookies. After nearly six years of working out of a commercial kitchen in Eagle to supply these stores and sell baked goods online, Moshit and Chuck opened Janjou Pâtisserie in the North End of Boise at the start of this year.

Although Jan never got the chance to experience her daughter’s new life in Idaho or taste her baked goods, Moshit says her presence is still felt everyday. “She was the center of my life and she still is.”

Janjou Patisserie is located at
1754 W State St Boise, (208) 297-5853

Article from Edible Idaho at http://edibleidaho.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/196-dreams-janjou-p-tisserie-labor-love-israel
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