Pastry chef Holland opens inventive shop

Michael Holland, known to some as the Pastry Overlord (given the word overlord is tattooed on his knuckles), has taken his pastry skills from elite restaurant Atelier to the streets. Joining two other Ottawa foodie favorites, Suzy Q Doughnuts and Beyond the Pale Brewery, Holland hopes to have customers flocking to enjoy his untraditional bites. Some pastry courses online may cover the molecular gastronomy techniques that both Holland and his former head chef Marc Lepine of Atelier used to make their fame.

With Atelier, Holland took creative liberties. One St. Patrick’s Day-themed dish, called Lucky Charms, featured caramelized cereal and a cocoa butter shell filled with vanilla milk. It required customer participation, for the dish was served dry, and only when the cocoa butter shell was broken did the cereal get drenched in milk. Holland is taking a few of these techniques with him to his new store, Holland’s Cake and Shake.

“I want to approach take-out desserts the way a chef would in a restaurant,” Holland told Laura Robin of the Ottawa Citizen.

Creative cakes
His attempts are unique, and according to Holland, they are an improved interpretation of the cupcake. Holland found that full 12-inch cakes dried out too quickly, as did cupcakes. To compromise, he created a miniature three-inch cake. This cake size, according to Holland, allows him to infuse more flavors into each personal goodie. With a seasonal menu that will change weekly, the restaurant will feature cakes that are sure to intrigue both the taste buds and the brain. One cake Holland will display is the Popeye cake. This incorporates spinach, olives and olive oil, and is topped with a candy cigarette. Perfect for both adults and children.

Aside from cakes, Holland will serve a rotational menu of tarts, ice cream and sandwiches. Holland doesn’t claim any healthy options.

“I know it’s going to be sweet and fattening — that’s the point,” said Holland when asked about the nutritional value of his food.

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