About Sook Pastry
"The delicate Korean pastries from my mother’s kitchen had captured my imagination at a young age and set my path in life.” Keum-Sook Park
Sook began her education in high school, apprenticing in Seoul’s finest bakeries and pâtisseries. While learning the craft, she was fascinated with combining pastry styles and flavors from different cuisines.
She then went on to New York for technical education at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and the French Culinary Institute (FCI). After graduating, Keum-Sook had stints at Jean Georges, under Iuzzini, at Bernadine, under Laiskonis and et Financier, under Bedoucha. She then move to Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro in Manhattan, where she spent a few years working and studying under François Payard. While there she continued specialty training in sculpting, sugar confectionery and chocolate with world-renowned chefs at the "Center for Advanced Pastry Studies (CAPS @ ICE)".
Keum-Sook served as personal pastry chef at a private kitchen in the Hamptons, while developing her brand ‘Sook Pastry’.
After the closing of Payard Pâtisserie in New York in 2009, she extensively toured the towns of North Jersey and Westchester County, NY. She found Ridgewood, NJ, in Bergen County, to be beautiful, accommodating, and ripe to welcome a French Pastry shop.
She gathered her colleagues from Payard Pâtisserie, Rutillio and Lorenzo Olivera. Together they created 'Sook Pastry', which soon after its opening, garnered rave reviews in many publications (See 'Press') and was awarded the coveted ratings of 28 (Excellent) at the ZAGAT Review 2014. 'Sook' became a 'must' for French Pastry lovers.
Later, Chocolatier Bertin Ventura joined the team. Moving forward, the four built a new chocolate factory in Clifton, NJ (see 'Sook Chocolate'), in which they produce high end chocolate ganaches, macarons, preserves in many flavors, and hot chocolate.
In the meanwhile, 'Sook' expanded it's menu, which now includes savory & sweet crêpes, soups, sandwiches, quiches, and much more (see 'menu').
In order to accommodate the many customers, Sook is now open seven days/week, from as early as 5:45 am until the last customer leaves, around 11.00 pm.
"It's a lot of work", says she,"but the smile on my happy customers' faces is all the reward I need. That is the one thing that keeps me going."