Restaurants

Look inside SALT Patisserie, Newton’s new celeb-worthy bakeshop

Owner Thiago Silva is a Netflix and Food Network star who's made edible memories for a slew of famous folks.

Thiago Silva at SALT Patisserie
Chef Thiago Silva poses at his new pastry shop in Newton Centre, SALT Patisserie. Photos by Samuel Andrade

What do you get for the person who has everything? Well, now you can take a cue from celebrities like John Legend, Iris Apfel, Derek Jeter, and Brooke Shields, who have all ordered sweet treats from Thiago Silva.

Silva, a Brazil-born, New York-bred pastry chef and chocolatier — and a famous name himself as a Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped winner, among other food TV spots — introduces his ownership debut this weekend in Newton Centre. SALT Patisserie opens Saturday, July 9, in ​​Piccadilly Square.

“In terms of quality, what I would serve to celebrities I will serve to our neighbors on the block,” said Silva, who catered to high-end clients and served as the executive pastry chef for EMM Group (now Catch Hospitality) before moving to Newton with his family in 2016. “The most important thing is the quality of everything we’re doing. The butter we use for our croissants gives you a really crispy texture. The chocolate is some of the best we can use. If you have great quality ingredients and you treat it with respect, it shows.”

SALT Patisserie counter_Samuel Andrade
The pastry and ordering counter at SALT Patisserie. – Photos by Samuel Andrade

When SALT opens, expect a range of Silva’s laminated pastries: Those crispy croissants in sweet and savory flavors, including a version made with French ham and gruyere; and the Romeo and Juliet filled with soft cheese and guava pasta, a classic combination from Silva’s Brazilian heritage. There’s a vanilla crème chiboust-filled, black cocoa “Oreo” eclair on the opening menu, and the pastry team is perfecting a version of the French kouign-amann as well, a croissant-like creation crusted in sugar.

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That pastry is “larger than what you usually see around here, which is a tribute to the authentic version,” Silva explained. “Sometimes going back is the way to bring something into the future.”

There will be house-baked sourdough and other breads, too; Silva is especially excited to share his gluten-free pao de queijo, or Brazilian-style cheese bread. Other sweets include a “quatro leches” riff on a classic tres leches cake, which adds house-made dulce de leche; and assorted house-made chocolate bon bons.

La Colombe Coffee is supplying the caffeine, which includes a full espresso program. A draft system offering cold brew coffee, whole milk, and oat milk on tap is being installed now.

SALT Patisserie seating_Samuel Andrade
SALT Patisserie is set up as a place to meet with friends for coffee and treats. – Photos by Samuel Andrade

Silva, who has also been a Food Network judge and most recently competed on Netflix’s School of Chocolate, calls himself a “student of the craft.” He has always wanted to open his own pastry shop, and he admits he thought he’d do it in New York. But he was lured into Boston for a role as director of chocolate at CHEW Innovation Lab, which develops consumer packaged goods, as “an opportunity to do something new,” he said. As Silva and his family got to know their new neighborhood, Newton became where he wanted SALT Patisserie to be. “It’s a good mix here of that go, go, go [mindset that New York has], but with a little bit more sense of community,” he said.

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Building out the bakery was certainly a learning process. The location, formerly a salon, required substantial utility work and took about a year to complete. But that’s just fuel for Silva: Among the cakes on display when SALT opens this weekend is a design inspired by ductwork.

“That’s what I’ve been looking at for a year,” he said with a laugh. “I think your life should inspire your creativity. Looking at the demolition part of it, the framing, the design aspects — there’s a lot of cool elements I wanted to tie in.”

The display, on the wall near the main entrance of SALT, will feature rotating cakes and chocolate showpieces around holidays and other happenings. Next to the display case is another eye-catching addition: a set of three-dimensional wings mounted on the wall for photo ops, made from salt crystals by resin artist Jacey K. Design. The pièce de résistance, however, is the 24-foot, wood-paneled pastry counter, which showcases Silva’s creations like a high-end jeweler. Local artist Emily Gallardo inscribed the chalkboard menu. 

SALT Patisserie display case_Samuel Andrade
A display case at SALT Patisserie showcases pastry chef Thiago Silva’s creativity, including a cake inspired by ductwork (second from left). – Photos by Samuel Andrade

Boston’s Hark + Osborne Interior Design created the clean, white interior with pops of terra cotta-orange. SALT has soaring ceilings and iridescent lighting, with a few tables and leather banquette seating for 10 to 12 people. Windows into a refrigerator and the pastry kitchen allow visitors a behind-the-scenes look. 

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“I want the space to be for people to meet up; not another coffee shop where you bring your computer,” Silva said. “It’s about creating memories with people.”

Being memorable is what got Silva to this moment, after all. Taking creative risks while the cameras were rolling kept TV producers calling, Silva said. Photo-ready, fantastic designs also caught the eyes of his celebrity clients — and he’s thrilled to eventually offer the same custom cakes and chocolate showpieces to SALT’s patrons as the pastry kitchen gets its groove, he said.

This weekend at SALT Patisserie is a soft opening, with more limited hours from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Silva said. More confections, including a full chocolate program, will come in the next few weeks. The bakery will be closed on Monday, then reopen Tuesday, July 12, with daily hours from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

792 Beacon St., Newton Centre, saltpatisserie.com

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