In a world of global franchises and mega-chains, Belle Epicurean’s story remains uniquely rooted in Seattle. Founded by native Seattle-ite Carolyn Bianchi Ferguson, the Belle Epicurean story actually begins in France in 1999.
Following her graduation from Washington State University and several years working in Seattle’s vibrant restaurant scene Carolyn decided to pursue her dreams and moved to Paris to study at the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu. It was there she met fellow student (and future husband), Howard Ferguson, and the two fell in love with Parisian foods, culture, and each other.
At the end of their studies, Howard received his culinary degree in French cuisine and Carolyn earned the extremely difficult and much-coveted “Le Grand Diplome” with degrees in both French cuisine and Patisserie. Shortly thereafter the pair moved to New Orleans where they were married and opened a French bistrot named Maison Bleu. After two years of long hours and heaps of critical acclaim, the couple chose returned to Carolyn’s home town to raise children and begin working on their new dream — authentic Parisian Pastries created in the heart of Seattle.
In 2003 they began selling Carolyn’s unique Brioche creations (aka “Belle’s Buns”) at the local Farmer’s Market and opened full-fledged cafe in 2005 which they called Belle Epicurean. Today, still inspired inspired by the foods and flavors she and Howard came to love in Paris, Carolyn pursues her passion for pastry both in the cafe and through the catering side of the business. Made in traditional French fashion with all natural ingredients, her creations — from absolutely decadent desserts to the award-winning Brioches known as Belle’s Buns — continue to draw admirers and accolades across Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest.