For a self-confessed “passionate control freak”, Kate Reid of Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne also has a spontaneous side. An aerodynamicist who would work on Formula One racing cars, the engineer began sizing up a career in icing-dusted “cakes and tarts and biscuits”. But a turn of a library book page one day – to a picture of “the most beautiful pain au chocolate” – was her epiphany moment and enough for Reid to book a ticket to Paris. “I throw my hat in the ring sometimes without a second thought,” she tells GRAZIA.
It was an impulse that would change her life. Spending time in the French Capital, Reid’s Saturday morning ritual consisted of her sitting inside the boulangerie Du Pain et des Idées – at the little art deco bar at the very back – and ordering an espresso and a buttery croissant.
Here she met lauded Parisian master baker Christophe Vasseur whom she begged for an apprenticeship. Although his staff didn’t speak English and there were big liabilities attached to hiring a foreigner, Vasseur saw a fire in Reid that emulated his own. She spent a month in the kitchen soaking up the exact degree of precision it would take to reproduce those Saturday morning moments at 34 Rue Yves Toudic – in Australia.
Reid took everything she learnt back to Melbourne. “There is something chemical that happens when the butter and the coffee pair together,” Reid explains. “It’s like one of those ‘more than the sum of its ingredients’ experiences and when I came back, I wanted to incorporate that back into my Melbourne life. At that stage, there was no where in Melbourne where I could replicate that experience so Lune was born.”
“I thought, ‘Maybe I can apply engineering principles to achieve that perfect croissant that I want to achieve at the end’,” she continued. “The process we use at Lune is actually very different to the Parisian technique because… I made it up. Because of this, every single day, we’re open to new iterations and innovations. We’re not tied to this one-hundred-year-old French technique.”
But it wasn’t without trial and error. There were so many goes at flattening the dough and laminating the butter into it – a process called beurrage, which takes up to five hours – until the ratio was right. There’s also differences in the types of flours and milks we use in Australia.
Every morning, Reid is up at 4am egg-washing and baking to create her Australian spin on those Ru Pain artisan, hand-made croissants. Enjoyed best straight out the oven with coffee and no jam, Lune also masters almond numbers filled with frangipane, savoury ham and gruyere croissants, fruit danishes and Vegemite and gruyere escargot.
Of course there’s a divine pain au chocolate. Throw the hat in the ring.
Creative Direction: Dané Stojanovic
Videography: Mitch Payne
Makeup: Mae Taylor