Glorifying God through confection: L’Etoile Patisserie

L'Etoile Patisserie owner talks how it all started.
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 3:58 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (TENNESSEE VALLEY LIVING) - When Kevin Zurmuehlen and his wife moved to Huntsville in 2002, he never thought that nearly 20 years later he’d open a French bakery.

Kevin spent his last two years of active duty at Redstone Arsenal working on missile defense programs as well as aviation programs. He retired in 2010 and then became a senior leader in the Army. But, while watching The Great British Bake Off, Kevin began thinking that he too would like to learn how to bake.

Kevin in kitchen
Kevin in kitchen(Patrick Akers)

He began by baking in his home. He got recipes off the internet and he eventually started posting to Instagram to show family and friends what he was making. Through that, he came across an opportunity to attend the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts to complete a pastry arts program.

His wife looked at him and asked, “Is God trying to do something with you with this whole baking thing?”

Kevin said ‘No.’ He was halfway through his second career in the Army and he wondered why he would ever consider leaving to begin a pastry career. He later began wondering if God was leading him down a new path, and what his next steps should be. So they started putting together a list of anything and everything they thought they might need to know or do in order to have a business.

Right before the pandemic hit in March 2020, they decided that they needed a location. Kevin’s son used to work at Holtz Leather which is located next door to L’Etoile Patisserie. He told the owners that he was aware of the space and that he felt God was calling them to open a bakery in Huntsville.

Rather than looking at him like he was crazy, Kevin says he was accepted by the owner of Holtz with teary eyes. From his briefcase, he pulled out a set of architectural plans for a bakery in the spot Kevin was hoping for that he had been in prayer over since buying the building four years prior.

After securing a location, he went to Washington D.C. to tell his boss that God was calling him to open a bakery. His boss paid him to quit his job in the exact amount he needed to open L’Etoile Patisserie.

He thought he should start practicing, so during the pandemic, they put up a website and baked out of their house. From May 2020 to May 2021, they received a little over 6,000 orders from 42,000 customers.

“When this all first started, I remember looking and talking to my wife and praying ‘God, I don’t know how this is going to glorify you,’ because he’s only going to call you to do something if it’s going to glorify Him,” said Kevin. “That experience out of the house really solidified it for me.”

L’Etoile Patisserie Family
L’Etoile Patisserie Family(L’Etoile Patisserie)

Before even opening doors, they had already touched 42,000 people. L’Etoile Patisserie exists firstly to glorify God by developing and strengthening our community through relationships while providing exceptional service and distinctive, high-quality baked goods. Right below that, they strive for excellent customer service. Kevin hopes that when his customers walk into L’Etoile Patisserie they feel like they are being transported somewhere else. Lastly, is their artisan quality breads and pastries.

L’Etoile Patisserie
L’Etoile Patisserie(L’Etoile Patisserie)
L’Etoile Patisserie
L’Etoile Patisserie(L’Etoile Patisserie)

“It’s just been neat to watch how God has used this,’ said Kevin. “It’s been an incredible experience for my family and I. We’ve never worked this hard in our lives. We’ve never been this tired in our lives but we’ve also never had this much fun.”

L’Etoile Patisserie
L’Etoile Patisserie(L’Etoile Patisserie)

L’Etoile Patisserie French Bakery and Cafe is located at 1214 Meridian St N, Huntsville, AL 35801. You can make online orders, purchase gift cards, and see what is in the cafe on their website. Be sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook to keep up-to-date on their journey.

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