Brushed golden fleur de lis with a robins’ egg blue background hangs above the renovated Cosby Hotel door.
“Sasha’s Baking Co.
” is artfully scrolled in the middle of the fleur. The storefront windows reveal a quaint little shop with wooden tables and a pastry case full of artisanal delights. The antique doorknob sticks a little upon entering.
Joyful sounds of show tunes perk my ears and drag my eyes towards the back of the bakery. A robust happy voice bellows with the music fluttering to the background. This voice belongs to a baker, pastry chefCarter Holton
. Sasha’s calls him the “Miracle on Ninth Street,” because this man can do anything in the baking and pastry world extremely well.
This tiny bakeshop is unassuming with a few deck ovens and baskets lining the walls to ensure perfect rising breads.
The cases are lined with Danish precisely put together with a super laminated dough revealing the striational design in the pastry. As Holton’s eyes light up behind his dark rimmed glasses he reveals his favorite items to bake are Danish, because oflaminating
(layering dough with butter) the dough.
“It looks like a piece of art when it is done right,” he said.
And he is correct. Similar to a fine braid of golden tendrils, tightly woven, yet you can see the separate strands. This makes the Danish absolutely light and crisp full of buttery flavor. Truly made by a baker in love with the process of baking.
This deep rooted passion for baking began many moons ago while helping his mom deliver elaborate wedding cakes and baking an exorbitant amount of pies with his grandmother for Thanksgiving.
“It was always fun to bake,” he said. “It wouldn’t be the same without baking 8-10 pies for the six people around the table.”
This level of fun lead Carter to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where he graduated as the Valedictorian. His skill did not rest long as he’s held pastry chef positions atLe Fou Frog, Anton’s tap Room, The River Club and teaches at the Art Institute International of Kansas City
There is something about Holton’s passionate demeanor which leads one to want to soak up all his knowledge like a sponge. His light brown eyes get a glimmer of joy when students understand his philosophy of baking, and it shows in the finished product. Baking must incorporate a measured science. Which happens to be one of his favorite topics — food science. The nitty gritty details of food reaction keeps his wheels turning, and ultimately making him a better chef.
Outside of the bakery you may catch this chef at a cocktail party, wearing a gray suit with an all too fabulously colored bow tie sipping on a Royals Royce.
At home during a rare “off day” this busy man has the refrigerator to prove his success, as nothing is in it besides condiments. His cupboard however is full of his favorites, Progresso tomato soup, “it actually tastes real,” microwave popcorn and always, canned green beans, “because God knows I love them.”
Holton is full of character, which fits Sasha’s Baking Co. perfectly. The owners Michelle and Jeremy Shipmann have brought together an eclectic fun group to create some of the best patisserie in Kansas City. By far Sasha’s is not a cupcake factory. They are a classic French pastry shop for a lovely lunch and beautiful pastries. Soon their patio will be open and full bar hopping.
This patisserie has become home for Holton.
Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.