Merlyn’s Patisserie in Traverse City Fuses French and Asian Flavors

A duo is shaking up the Traverse City food scene.

Anna Kucharski makes up one half of Merlyn’s Patisserie.

“We’ve been thinking of doing this for at least eight, ten years,” said Anna Kucharski, Co-Owner of Merlyn’s Patisserie.

Her little brother Jun Dupr makes up the other half.

“My sister inspired me, she was the one who started in the business, first doing pastry, and I was like, You know what? Maybe I want to try that,” explained Jun Dupr, Co-Owner of Merlyn’s Patisserie.

They moved to Grand Traverse County from the Philippines 19 years ago, and both attended Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Traverse City.

“We have always wanted to have something of our own, like living the American dream,” said Kucharski.

Now they’re chasing after that dream. After years of working at restaurants as close as Traverse City and as far away as Los Angeles, they started Merlyn’s Patisserie in May, named after their mom.

“My mom, she had been working abroad. She was a family nanny and was just a single mom. So it was like really hard work for her. We grew up without our mom for a while, like nine years at least,” explained Kucharski. “At some point, she was able to come to the U.S., and that’s when she was able to get us here.”

Their sweet creations are a fusion of French and Asian flavors, harkening back to their Filipino roots.

One of their signature items is an ube croissant.

“You get the French base, which is the croissant, and then we put in the pastry cream, blend it with ube, which is a purple yam, a very popular delicacy in the Philippines, said Dupr.

You can find their unique creations at local markets. They will be at the Sara Harding Farmers Market in Traverse City on Saturdays starting in November. They will be at the indoor market in Traverse City on Saturdays.

You can also get some of their desserts at Red. Ginger.

Their goal is to one day open a storefront.

“It feels so fulfilling. I knew it was going to be a long journey coming here. But, I’ve been so lucky figuring out at such a young age what I want to do with my life so that I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” said Dupr.

You can vote for Jun Dupr in The Greatest Baker competition.