Cannelle Patisserie in the news

September 14, 2009  |  Cannelle Patisserie, News


One frigid late afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I walked over to Cannelle, a French pâtisserie in the Jackson Heights Shopping Center. Inside the shop, whose melancholy neighbors include a post office, a Carvel, a Pearle Vision, a Radio Shack, a Waldbaum’s, and a Stand-Up MRI, exquisite pastries sat glistening behind glass: neat rows of voluptuous Gâteaux Saint-Honoré; delicate, palest-yellow pavés of Tartes aux Citrons adorned with tiny curls of candied orange peel; Chocolate Praline Cakes bedecked with slivers of gold-leafed dark chocolate. Behind the vitrines, towering baguettes stood in baskets alongside clusters of French artisanal syrups and preserves and small decorative boxes of Fleur de Sel de Guérande. The effect was stunning.

Jean-Claude Perennou, who was born and raised in Brittany, is the C.E.O. and president of Cannelle, and also the former executive pastry chef at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (in 2003, Forbes ranked him fifth in its list of the ten best pastry chefs in the country). Three or four years ago, Perennou began looking to start his own business in Manhattan. His sous-chef at the Waldorf, and now his partner, Gnanasampanthan Sabaratnam, a.k.a. Samba, who is from Sri Lanka, and who lives across the street from the shopping center (Perennou lives five minutes away, in Astoria), told him one day that he thought a bakery in the center wanted to sell. The two men bought it out and, because they knew most of the chefs and hotels in the city, made plans to set up a wholesale operation. But their retail business has been so successful they’ve put that on hold. “At the beginning, people were like, ‘What are you guys doing hereàWhat’s wrong with you?’” Perennou says. “We were like, “Why notàWe live right here.”

(Articles published by Mary Hawthorne at in January 2009)


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