EDWARDSVILLE — Dan Maddox is still working 14-hour days, but the pastry chef has more time with his family now that he and wife Amy own Brevan's Patisserie.
"The good part is that we did the change because we wanted to see more of the kids," said Dan, 40, of sons Brendan, 10, and Evan, 7. "There was no real time with them. Now, there is more quality time. Sometimes, it's as simple as sitting and eating dessert with them, or sitting with Amy on my down time."
A pastry chef who had worked in the hotel industry for years, Dan found himself away from his family more often than with them. Now, working just five minutes from home means the kids can be at the shop with them, do their homework and talk about their day. Together.
"We're up at 6 and as soon as we walk in the door, they ask for food," said Amy, 36, of their sons coming to the shop before school. "The kids are back at 4 and we all leave at 6:15."
Keeping it all in the family, the couple came up with the name Brevan's by using a combination of their sons' names. They opened the business Jan. 27.
"We talked about this for years, but it got put on the back burner," said Amy. "We had kids. We moved around. We thought, 'Can we do this?'"
A change in Dan's employment at a St. Louis hotel made it the time to turn the dream into reality.
It also gave Amy the chance to unpack all the plates she has bought over the years for a future patisserie (French for pastry shop).
"I'd get them out and look at them and say, 'Are we ever going to use them?'"
The answer is yes.
They're stacked behind the display case filled with French pastry concoctions. On one of the walls is an arrangement of kitchen tools and accessories, including Dan and Amy's grandmothers' rolling pins. Tall glass windows front the shop, where customers can sit at tables and enjoy a cup of Goshen coffee with a pastry. There's seating outside as well.
Dan arrives around 4:30 a.m. and sets to work in the back creating, for example, Red Noisette ($5), alternating layers of hazelnut and chocolate sponge cake and mousse with a raspberry gelee on top. Or, salted caramel chocolate tarts and eclairs; a dome-shaped mini sponge cake called Strawberry Pizzazz, which has strawberry mousse and vanilla cr(*143*)me filling and is covered in a strawberry glaze; and almond cake layered with butter cream and coffee-flavored mousse and topped with chocolate (called an Opera, $4.50).
The variety changes daily.
"He likes fancy things," said Amy, who grew up in East Alton. "Now he gets to create what he wants, and I think it's fun to see what he comes up with."
Amy, a culinary school graduate herself, creates many of the "comfort baking" items in between running the kids to and from school, picking up supplies and handling housework and errands. Her repertoire includes scones ($2.25), muffins ($2.50), big cookies ($1), mini cheesecakes ($7) and raspberry bars.
The shop always has cinnamon rolls ($3), muffins and scones first thing in the morning because they are favorites of customers, Amy said.
Because she has a sensitivity to gluten, Amy and Dan have created a variety of gluten-free treats.
"Every day we have gluten-free scones, muffins ($3) and cookies, with a change-up in flavors." Dan said they have developed a loyal following with that specialty.
"We do have a lot of gluten-free customers who come in every day, so we want to give them a variety." For now, it's just Dan and Amy running the business. They're doing some catering of dessert items and also can make larger versions of some of the individual-size pastries and do some custom work.
They do not make wedding cakes, but said they would look forward to creating a sweets table for a reception, doing bridal and baby showers and corporate events. They just need advance notice.
Sitting outside on a sunny weekday with fellow pickleball players, John Borchers, 67, of Glen Carbon, said it's hard to know what to order at Brevan's.
"I loved the scone, it was chocolate-chip and (toasted) coconut," he said, smiling. "You want to get one of everything when you go in there."
Where: 1009 Century Drive, Edwardsville (in the University Point Shopping Center off Illinois 157)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays
Information: 618-307-5772 or brevanspatisserie.com, also on Facebook