Q&A With Patrick Devine, Pastry Chef And Photographer

As the afternoon sun bounces off the pearly tiles at La Patisserie Chouquette in the Botanical Heights neighborhood of St. Louis, owner Simone Faure tends to customers lusting after her desserts, and pastry chef Patrick Devine works in back, artfully constructing each baked good. However, Devine trades spatula for digital camera when he clocks out, wandering forgotten buildings for iconic photographs. Sights that inspire him include: vacant lots, structures abandoned by the city and collapsed brick walls, to name a few. Read our Q&A with him below to learn more about his tenure at the bakery and photography.

It’s interesting that you love this one aspect of creating where you make new things, and then you have this other aspect where you glorify the decay, or the end of things. Why do you think that is?
When exploring some of these buildings and trying to find out the history of them, for me there’s always this hope for it, that it would be able to be revitalized—that possibly by shedding light on some of these places in the city, people would want to learn a little bit more about them. There’s always the hope that it would see new life again, and that I would have that opportunity to see something that’s similar to what I create at work and on a daily basis—something that’s new and shiny and pretty.

Photograph by Patrick Devine.

Photograph by Patrick Devine.

How did you get into pastry and photography?
Aside from having a serious sweet tooth, which is a big part of it, I just really like the technical aspect of making a pastry and the final result. They are really well-received, and I like being able to see it make people happy. Pastries are where it’s at for me. I love what we’re doing, and the position I have working with Simone is pretty great.

Photography was an interest in my mind for quite a while. I got a camera for Christmas and got bored after a while, but saw on Instagram these pictures people were taking of cool places in St. Louis. It made me dive deeper into finding out more about these places and the city. It’s neat to get a unique perspective in that regard—not just the Arch or the museums—but seeing buildings that represent industries and the things people were doing in previous generations.

What keeps you motivated?
It seems like both fields I’m in are getting more and more competitive. As a competitive person, I always try to keep pushing. On the pastry side, you see people continually trying to improve and do cooler things, so you think, “All right, I’ve gotta step up my game here so we can stay relevant.”

To see more of Devine’s work, visit his website.

La Patisserie Chouquette
1626 Tower Grove Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110

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