Sweet and Savory Delicacies Are All To Be Had at Ayu Bakehouse


Ayu Bakehouse bagettes
Photo credit: Sam Hanna Photography

Ayu Bakehouse has been a hub for fresh-baked pastries, sandwiches, and coffee for about a year. The spot is owned by Kelly Jacques and Samantha Weiss, who met while attending culinary school in New York.

Jacques is from Maryland and attended Tulane University. She started baking when she was fourteen and, upon graduating college, continued with her passion by starting a mobile bakery business. Her business, dubbed The Bikery, delivered baked goods around the city via Jacques’ bicycle. 

From there, Jacques worked as a pastry cook at Emeril’s NOLA before attending culinary school in New York where she met Weiss, who was working in finance. The pair then began working at Breads Bakery in New York—Weiss worked in the catering department while Jacques oversaw operations after previously being a bread baker. 

Then the pair had the idea of opening a bakery in New Orleans.

“We had that moment of thinking we should open a place and see our own vision through,” Jacques said. “I had already been planning to move back down here and I was able to convince [Weiss] to move here too; and this all coincided with Covid.”

Regarding its baked goods, Ayu’s approach is taking the food that people love from New Orleans and reinterpreting it through the lens of a baker.

One customer favorite is the Boudin Boy, a croissant dough pastry filled with boudin and a boiled egg. The vegetarian version is packed with mushrooms, gruyere, and caramelized onions. Another favorite is the muffuletta breadstick, a thin breadstick with all the fixings and flavors of the classic sandwich minus the bread density. 

Jacques said, “We used to work at a place that made muffulettas and it’s so much bread that you can barely get through it all. So, I thought we could flip the proportions a little and make it more of a handheld thing with cured meat, cheese, and olives.”

Ayu Bakehouse croissant
Photo credit:Sam Hanna Photography

On the sweeter side, Ayu Bakehouse offers Kaya Buns, laminated dough pastries filled with Singaporean coconut jam, in honor of Jacques’ grandmother, who was born in Indonesia and whose family lives in Singapore.

“It was something that I always had when I went to visit, but I had never had it here,” she explained. “We got the recipe from one of my family members and started making it. It’s infused with pandan leaves, which is like an Asian vanilla.”

Other menu items include sandwiches such as The Frenchmen made with tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, green beans, watermelon radish, and a savory anchovy-based mayonnaise made in-house and served on a baguette.

Biscuits, cookies, croissants, and an assortment of freshly baked bread round out the menu.

Coffee is served in all preferred forms here and provided by local purveyor Mammoth Espresso. Coffee was a must when Jacque and Weiss laid the groundwork for Ayu Bakehouse.

She said, “We feel like there’s no better accompaniment to a great pastry than a really perfect cup of coffee or cappuccino. We spend a lot of time working with our team and Mammoth comes in and trains with us. We feel it’s as important a technique as laminating croissant dough.”

Ayu Bakehouse is open Monday and Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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