WALLINGFORD — Chelsea Tripp, owner of a new bakery on Route 5 that opened Saturday, said dessert brings people together, and that makes her happy while pursuing her passion for baking.
“People love sweets,” she said. “It’s just something that everyone can collectively enjoy together. It's not like when you go out to dinner, everyone's getting something very different. But when it comes to (sweets), everyone's going like a chocolate chip cookie.”
Kouign, pronounced “queen,” is a one-woman show located at 600 N. Colony Road, in a former a car rental office.
The name is short for kouign-amann, which mean “butter cake” in the original French-Celtic language.
Tripp said she plans to offer kouign-amann on the menu regularly. Other items will be seasonal.
“For the opening, I’m going to be doing 18 menu items,” she said. “It's going to be changing a lot. I'm going to see what people like and then I'll keep those as permanent.”
Tripp graduated from Lyman Hall High School in 2011. She attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and after completing a year-long accelerated program to earn an associate’s degree, she moved to Chicago at age 19.
For the past decade, she worked in bakeries and restaurants in Chicago and Austin, Texas. She moved back to Wallingford in April after feeling the effects of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry.
She said she wants to offer her own selection of baked goods and not duplicate what is already offered in town.
“In Chicago, the hospitality industry is very connected, like we all want to help each other,” she said. “I made sure that I was doing something that wasn't really what we had in Wallingford, so when people ask me if I'm going to have something, I say (that) we already have really good cannolis, hard rolls, doughnuts, cupcakes. I'm going to be doing other things.”
Kouign offers coffee and traditional baked goods using high quality ingredients.
“You could make cookies with chocolate from the store, or I’ve used cocoa berry, and you could taste the difference … between that cookie and then a cookie that you buy from the store,” she said. “They're a little bit pricier, because of the ingredients, but it's well worth it.”
Tripp said her contractor, Wolf Contracting, LLC, made the 1,000-square-foot corner storefront “come alive” by building a kitchen and counter space, installing new a electric system, removing a drop ceiling and redoing the floor.
She bought new stainless steel work tables, shelves, sinks, hot water heater, refrigerator, freezer, coffee maker and an oven, which took like five months to get, she said.
She also has a planetary mixer, capable of mixing 20 quarts.
“This just makes my life a lot easier, I can make big batches with anything,” she said.
She secured a $50,000 small business loan through a state program, and had organizational help from her parents, Judy and Les Tripp.
Judy Tripp, an assistant director of underwriting at a insurance company in Cheshire, said she helped coordinate details with the interior construction.
Even getting the right contractor was tough, she said, because many people were booked doing home renovations.
“(Homeowners) were not going on vacation (due to COVID-19), so they were upgrading their homes, or selling their homes,” Judy Tripp said. “It was a challenge but we got here.”
For more information, call 203-678-4646, email email@example.com or visit Instagram at @_Kouign