The family behind the gilded Hyde Park-based Just Teddy — Fine Boulangerie & Pâtisserie has released its debut recipe book, and it’s a flavourful affair.
Thinking about the first time I met the Zaki family — Teddy and Jeff — I am transported a good few years back to the parking lot which houses the Neighbourgoods Market. Among the throngs of hipsters, paella cooking, artisanal brews and, inexplicably, fresh oysters, Jeff Zaki had just started making his take on Neapolitan-style pizza. Assisting him was his father, Teddy, just off his successful run on the first season of the Great South African Bake Off. It’s still one of the best pizzas I’ve had in Joburg to date, mind you.
It’s very different surroundings this time I visit the family. We’re meeting to talk about their new project, but it’s a difference which highlights their impressive growth, fuelled by passion, hard work and a knack for knowing what their customer wants.
Over the past few years, the now-closed pizza business moved to another market, where Teddy and daughter Jordyne set up a stand selling their baked goods, while Jeff ventured into bread making, eventually selling to a host of local restaurants. All this culminated in the opening of their store in Hyde Park Corner — Just Teddy — which, with its growing customer base, just keeps expanding.
It is here — among the shiny black displays and intricate golden detailing with touches of Parisian glam — that we meet to talk about their new and first book, Petals from Paris.
“It’s more than a recipe book though,” explains Teddy. “We wanted something that told our story and was beautiful enough to sit on a table as a coffee-table book.”
They most certainly have achieved that, with Petals from Paris showcasing the family’s sheer love of food and their culinary journey in the most beautiful form. The book, with stories penned by Teddy, includes gorgeous photography and, of course, their stunning recipes — which importantly have all been adapted for the home baker.
The name is a nod to their Lebanese roots, while roses and rose petalsare a quintessential part of their cuisine and the Parisian history of the fine patisserie for which they have become known.
The first chapter, entitled “the baker, the mama, the pizza guy and the little eclair,” perhaps sums up the heart of not only their book but also their business — referring to Teddy, his wife Natasha, Jeff and Jordyne. First and foremost, it’s about family — an immensely talented and ambitious one — but family nonetheless, each member contributing towards the vision in their own way.
The same is true for the recipes in the book. Whether it be Teddy’s classic home bakes, including the unpretentious cupcake (his first recipe he made as a child), or the nods to his heritage with his Lebanese-inspired creations — like the Kataifi cheesecake (which fronts the book) — or Jeff’s masterful dough recipes covering everything from bagels to pizza bases and Jordyne’s fine take on Parisian patisserie, the likes of macarons and Ispahan, the book is clearly a family effort.
It’s a beautiful story from cover to cover and is equally suited to lazy paging for inspiration and enjoyment as it is for the fervent baker looking to master Just Teddy-like creations at home. Like everything they do, the Zaki’s passion, pursuit for perfection, kindness and unmatched work ethic, is present on every page.
Petals from Paris is available online and in leading bookstores and at Just Teddy at Hyde Park Corner.
Shop LM4 — Hyde Park Corner Shopping Centre
Corner William Nicole Drive & Jan Smuts Ave
Hyde Park, Sandton
Just Teddy — Petals from Paris is published by That Food Guy Publishing — a division of That Food Guy Group