After looking for a place to locate in Ann Arbor for several years, master chef of pastries Matt Knio is planning to open a new bakery and restaurant in the next few months. WEMU's Lisa Barry talks to him about the eatery, which will be located on Washington Street in Ann Arbor and called "The Great Commoner Cannelle."
Matt Knio, at a very young age, worked in a bakery and discovered his love for baking. He learned of an opportunity in Ivory Coast, Africa to work on a cocoa bean plantation. Traveling alone, he lived and worked closely with the farmers, where the process of growing and extracting the beans fascinated him.
He wanted to incorporate this knowledge with his love for baking and travelled to Paris, France to learn this process from the best. He worked under a very talented master pastry chef, Claude Baraque, who encouraged him to enroll in Academies De Versailles. Matt took his advice and graduated a master artesian. He moved to the States where he wanted to spread his knowledge and passion for the art of French baking.
He knew many of the major cities were needing something of this kind in their area. In Michigan, he was the head pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton before opening his first retail shop. He was approached by many to bring his talents to their cities and states, but his love for Detroit and the opportunities it has given him made it an easy choice. He now has two "Cannelle" locations in Detroit and Birmingham, where he sells fine French pastries, bread, and baked goods.
Knio had been looking for a location to open a third place in Ann Arbor for several years. He finally found it on Washington Street downtown, but the current pandemic has slowed his progress in opening. He is continuing to work on the location, which will also offer soup and sandwiches, as well as some 40 different desserts and baked goods. He had hoped to open this month but is now expecting to be ready for operations by the spring.
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