Manitou French Pastries showins intersection of cuisine and science

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One of Manitou French Pastry's most popular offerings are their macarons. - NICHOLAS ADKINS
  • Nicholas Adkins
  • One of Manitou French Pastry's most popular offerings are their macarons.
Nicholas Adkins, owner/sole operator of Manitou Springs-based Manitou French Pastries, took a little time to figure out his true calling. The West Virginia native spent seven years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, working in molecular medicine. When his wife moved to the Springs for a job, Adkins expected to be able to find work either as a professor or in the research industry. He stalled out in his search and decided that wasn’t where his passion lay anyway. He’s since studied cuisine — mostly French — completing a four-month intensive program at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts in Denver and spending a year studying at the Gastronomicom culinary academy in Agde, France. He’s found that his lab-refined sense of precision and adherence to protocol have made him a fine cook and especially adept with pastry.

“It’s funny the similarities, though,” he says. And there’s another chance connection: his research organism of choice was yeast. He’s intimately familiar with the life cycle of yeast and how to make it do what he wants it to do. With as finicky as pastry can be, to say nothing of how Colorado's high altitude complicates things, that’s a major asset.

And so far, it’s been paying promising dividends — after opening for business on July 20, he says he’s already having to hire an employee to help him keep up with his customer base, and he already has regulars. So far, his top sellers are either his croissants or his macarons, he says.

As much as pastry and baking bring him joy, in a few years, he hopes to open a café and bistro to allow him to share his love of savory cooking as well.

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