Sugoi (すごい) is a Japanese term used to express the sense of being awestruck or overwhelmed from the excitement of an experience or moment. In English, subtle versions of the expressions “oh… wow,” “awesome,” or “amazing” would carry similar meaning. Our goal is to bring sugoi moments to our world through the celebration of handcrafted chocolate, confections and other goodies.
MEET CHEF ELLE & THE STORY OF SUGOi SWEETS
SUGOi Sweets is an artisan chocolate/confection store based in Chicagoland, Illinois. It is the result of chef Elle's culinary and personal journey. As a child, Elle craved sweet treats of any form. Any day mom returned home with sweet gifts in her purse was a good day. However, Elle has not always been a chef. Her culinary journey did not begin until after she moved to United States as an adult. While her partner was completing a degree at the University of Louisville, she landed her first restaurant job on the savory side of the kitchen. After working on the line a few years, serving hundreds of guests every night, Elle soon found a way to reconnect her long love of sweets with her burgeoning food industry life.
After a few years in Louisville, life brought Elle and her family to northern Illinois. It was here, Elle landed her first pastry job. She learned how to make macarons and became the head macaron baker, making thousands of French-style macarons every week. While she still has an appreciation for these delicate cookies, she was ready for something new. At just the right time, an opportunity to live in Japan arrived. She immediately quit her macaron job and moved to Kyoto for a short period. Armed with an unlimited Japanese Rail pass and love for Japanese food culture she explored the country's world-renowned dessert and food scene. It was a wonderland of inspiration. The craftsmanship, execution, and presentation of Japanese desserts are second to none. Elle was also amazed at the use of ingredients and design translated from the four seasons and holidays. She fell in love with strolling through Japanese neighborhoods and B1 levels of department stores. Each place offered something new and different. It was during this time in Japan that Elle learned the possibilities in the dessert world are endless, but she had so much to learn if she wanted to create like an artist.
Elle returned to Chicago with a newly found energy to continue honing her skills and dreamed of ways to translate her ideas into something she could make and share with others. She returned to the fine-dining restaurant world where she made plated desserts and learned more about flavors and techniques. This was followed by a confectioner position in a high-end grocery that taught her a few tricks of the trade and production on a larger scale. However, as her next work anniversary approached the store closed its doors and she was once again left wondering what was next. Instead of looking for another “job” Elle decided it was now time to give it a go herself. After a few months of research and brainstorming, SUGOi Sweets was born in the spring of 2019.
Color is an important theme in SUGOi Sweets. As a child, Elle was always playing with colors and loved to draw. She even had a childhood dream to be a fashion designer and has the sketch pads to prove it. However, like many of us, she was sidetracked by the social pressure of pursuing a “viable” career and ended up with a law degree and worked multiple uninspiring jobs. That childhood dream to be an artist remained a distant thought until SUGOi Sweets... where hand-painted bonbons and designing brand packaging has replaced the summer fashion line created by that childhood fashion designer. Elle is grateful that she can hold a paintbrush and dream about colors once again.