Sarah Abitan: “I’m mad about Strasbourg!”

Since she opened Gat’ô, her lactose-free patisserie, in Strasbourg 2 years ago, life has been a constant rush for Sarah Abitan.
Gat’ô was recently ranked as one of the 10 most outstanding patisseries in France by Capital magazine, and Sarah has set up a number of initiatives with local creators, such as her iconic cathedral-shaped Christmas log with Maison Magique, a Strasbourg-based design studio. She regularly goes over to New York to make videos on classic French patisserie.

A lot’s happened since Gat’ô started!
Sarah Abitan: Yes, it’s all a bit crazy! A lot of people have said that patisserie isn’t possible without passion, and they’re right. We’re always working at 200%, it’s something I’ve always believed in.

What was your initial aim?

. What we wanted to do was to create lighter cakes and patisserie, gentle on the stomach but still remaining true to tradition. We did an enormous amount of work on making classic recipes, but without dairy products, which we replaced by vegetable-based ingredients. Our cakes and patisserie are lactose free, although 90% of our customers are people who come to us because they like what we make, not because they’re lactose intolerant or allergic to lactose.

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You work a lot now with local creators (Amandine Giraudo of Maison Magique, Sonia Verguet, Dan 23…) to make visually-striking cakes – where did this idea come from?
S.A.: Creativity is part and parcel of our job. Everything we make has to taste great and look great. I’ve been an artist since I was a child – I paint, I draw, I did fashion school – and so it was quite normal for me to start working with local creators.

You’re also very attached to your city…

I’m mad about Strasbourg. I adore my city, and for me it was a way of helping to get it better known, even in other countries.

What was your reaction when you found out you had been included in the top 10 most outstanding pâtissiers?
S.A.: First of all, it was an extraordinary honour to find myself alongside other pâtissiers such as Christophe Michalak and Pierre Hermé. It doesn’t, though, change anything about how we work. I chose this job because I like people. When you like what you do, you put a lot more love and care into what you do and you make sure you do the best you can. Every cake and patisserie that comes out of my laboratory is a little bit of well-being and my reward is seeing a little old lady coming into my shop and me imagining her later eating the cake she chose.

How are you an optimist?

 You have to believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, you can do anything. You need lots of patience. Good things come to those who wait, that’s my motto.

Pâtisserie Gat’ô

55, avenue des Vosges à Strasbourg

03 90 41 73 78