Scottsdale pastry restaurant is James Beard nominee

Bakers work in the kitchen at Jenna Leurquin Patisserie. (David Minton/Progress Staff Photographer)

It still doesn't seem like nearly a decade ago that Jenna Leurquin, who grew up in Belgium and was a top golf player with a scholarship to Boise State University, was scouring Idaho in search of a bakery that offered any semblance of the sweets she enjoyed in her native Barcelona, Spain. 

When she discovered none, the then-major in business and accounting finance decided to go to Paris and attend Le Cordon Bleu where she learned to create delectable pastries. 

She then spent two years working as a consultant for some of the most renowned restaurants and bakeries in Belgium before returning to the states and taking a position as head pastry chef for Silverleaf Country Club. 

After two years at the club, she decided to head out on her own, opening JL Patisserie, located off Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard. 

After a few months here, Leurquin established a large enough following to open a second location in Phoenix near Camelback Road and Central Avenue. 

Despite the early success, Leurquin admits that the early years were tough and when the pandemic took root in early 2020, business hardly got easier. 

However, Leurquin attributes her business’ survival to her staff's commitment to showing up to work each day and committing to staying true to her products.

“We just started focusing on the community and just staying true to my product,” she recalled. “That's what I said I was going to do and people supported us and that’s how we kept growing.” 

Even with challenges like supply chain disruptions and rising costs of ingredients like eggs, Leurquin credits her team for pushing forward. 

“We never sacrifice quality for time or anything like that,” said Leurquin. “Sometimes it was really hard to fit it all in with a limited staff,  but I always said ‘it has to be baked fresh and it has to be our quality.’ 

No matter how much it cost or the labor that it took, that's something that I pride myself in doing and I hope my team prides itself in doing.” 

Because of this, Leurquin feels that her business’ nomination for a James Beard Award reflects her staff rather than herself. 

“It means the most to my team because I did not get here by myself and I am glad that the recognition reinforces the good work that my team comes in to do every day,” Leurquin said. 

Because of this, she says her staff was elated when they learned the news of the nomination. 

“They were very excited when I told all of them,” Leurquin said. “I told them ‘you should be proud to be here with me because I'm very proud that you are part of this team as we're accomplishing those goals and big awards.” 

Leurquin had a somewhat different reaction to the news, partly because she was on vacation.

“I was skiing because I just needed a little break after the crazy holiday season I just had,” Leurquin recalled with a laugh. “Then, I got a phone call saying ‘we’re nominated for a James Beard Award’ and I was like, ‘Really? That's awesome.’” 

The winners of the James Beard Award will be announced on June 5 at an official ceremony in Chicago.

But because of the honor that even the nomination carries, Leurquin said she and her team feel as if they have already won. 

“I think we’ve already won,” she said. “Whether I win or not, I think just the nomination is already a win, and whatever happens, for me, just the pride of being nominated is very good.” 

In the meantime, Leurquin is remaining focused on her recently expanded Scottsdale establishment, which recently added more space for dine-in seating and expanded its kitchen. 

“So, we started the expansion project in the summer and we recently knocked part of our wall down and extended the storefront but we're still working on auto kitchen expansion so we can hopefully have more space to work in,” she said. 

She also hopes to expand beyond her two storefronts and join more community events around the Valley. 

“I do wish to expand to more farmer's markets and get more of a connection with the community through other means,” Leurquin said. 

Overall, Leurquin is mostly happy that she and her team are being rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their craft and plans to have some unique offerings to complement upcoming holidays.

JL Patisserie

7342 E. Shea Boulevard #108, Scottsdale


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