Experience the award-winning recipes for cookies, cakes, quiches, and croissants from maman, the beloved rustic-chic café
“The perfect host gift but also one that will surely be earmarked, splashed with wine and chocolate from overuse, which in my mind is a smash.”—Erin McKenna, owner of Erin McKenna’s Bakery
Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte opened maman to fill a void in their hearts. They wanted to create a warm, cozy place for people to come together and savor a freshly baked madeleine or slice of savory quiche with the comfort and familiarity of being in their own living room. This collection of 100 recipes spans bestselling dishes from their locations in New York City, Montreal, and Toronto—like Banana-Lavender Cornmeal Waffles with Vanilla Mascarpone, Cumin Chickpea Salad, and the Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies made famous by none other than Oprah.
French café culture and urban-rustic design come together to create a cookbook as delicious as it is visually inspiring. Whether you’d like to make one of Elisa’s naked cakes for a special occasion or a roasted chicken sandwich with basil aïoli for lunch, maman welcomes you with open arms.
“The first time I walked into maman to grab a croissant for my kids, I was lovestruck by the charm and effortless elegance of the bakery. What drew me back to maman several times a week was the menu: a little fussy, a touch rustic, and just the right amount of sophistication that made eating the food feel like an act of self-love. This book is the perfect host gift but also one that will surely be earmarked, splashed with wine and chocolate from overuse, which in my mind is a smash.” —Erin McKenna, owner of Erin McKenna’s Bakery
“I’m such a big fan of maman’s coffee shops. The food, the drinks, the décor, everything is so lovely and thought through. No surprise, Elisa and Benjamin’s first cookbook is the same. Every page and recipe is so beautiful. It’s as delightful to flip through as it is to cook from.” —Kerry Diamond, founder of Cherry Bombe
“ Maman is a stellar cookbook filled with mouthwatering and heartwarming recipes that, simply put, are food from the soul. Believe me when I tell you, this cookbook will forever have a space in your heart and in your kitchen.” —Diala Canelo, author of Diala’s Kitchen
“I am so happy to see Elisa and Ben’s work in print. Their thoughtfulness in the creation of their products and spaces translates beautifully onto these pages. As a bakery owner myself, one always hopes that your children love your spaces the most. This is not the case with my son Isaac, who loves maman more than Gjusta. From one maman to another, I celebrate you.” —Shelley Kleyn Armistead, CEO of Gjelina
“I am not just here for the blue-and-white china, although that alone would be enough!! Elisa and Ben’s beautiful book is filled with delightful food, topped with artisanal charm. This favorite NYC breakfast spot is now accessible to every home cook!” —Laurel Gallucci, cofounder and CEO of Sweet Laurel
Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte are the cofounders and owners of maman. Elisa, the creative director, oversees branding, communications, and events, and works with maman’s chefs to develop and fine-tune maman’s recipes and menus. She’s also a contributing columnist for Martha Stewart online. As the CEO, Ben manages operations and business development, but he is also the creative mind behind some of maman’s most beloved savory dishes. Together, Elisa and Ben design the interiors of all maman locations, which can be found throughout New York City as well as in Montreal and Toronto.
About Maman: A Home Away From Home
When you walk into any of our maman locations, the feeling is always the same. The aroma of culinary splendor wafts through the air, welcoming you inside, while the light buzz of conversation balances against the hiss of the espresso machine and the occasional clanging of pots. The exact details of each maman are unique, but features like exposed brick, rustic wood tables, mismatched china, and our signature blue-and-white patterns that are on everything from our to-go cups to our wallpaper create a familiar environment. The food always smells and tastes like something from your maman’s kitchen, or maybe like a dish your grandmother taught you that you still make today. Coming into the café engages all your senses, embraces you, and makes you feel right at home.
Maman means “mother” in French, but for us, it also embodies the comforting, cozy feeling of home we wanted to create when we opened our first café in a former art gallery. At the time, late 2014, New York was filled with sleek spots that were all about being cool and trendy, but there weren’t a lot of places to settle into with a good cup of coffee to concentrate on reading, writing, or sketching, or to lounge for a few hours enjoying a meal with friends, almost as if in your own living room. There also weren’t spaces to gather around the table to celebrate all of life’s special occasions, big or small.
We were both fortunate to grow up in families that loved to come together around food, and with mamans and grandmothers who were amazing cooks and bakers. We were far away from home and missing our families, with Elisa’s in Canada and Ben’s in France. We couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for, so we decided to establish this sense of home for ourselves, which is how the café ultimately came to be. We set out to create a place that welcomes people with familiar sights, scents, and sounds—a place that feels like home.
We filled the space with furniture and décor inspired by our own childhood homes: a large wooden table surrounded by assorted vintage chairs, a china hutch, and vintage flatware. Even the bunnies that pop up in different forms at all our locations are drawn from the fact that we (like many others) both had beloved stuffed bunnies as children. We hoped these kinds of details would resonate with our guests, evoking thoughts of the past, stirring emotions, and helping instill that wonderful sense of home.
Of course, just as the kitchen is always the heart of the home, food was always going to be the heart of maman. When you open the door to any of our locations, you’re drawn in by the inviting scent of something from the kitchen, be it cookies, quiche, or roast chicken—familiar aromas that evoke a bit of nostalgia.
As we were planning our menu, we kept returning to our families’ recipes and traditions. It’s even how we settled on the name maman, which conjures the feeling we wanted to create while also celebrating our mamans, both of whom ignited our passion for food and entertaining. By using the French word, we pay tribute to the French heritage and influences in our menu.
Years later, maman has multiple locations, along with a thriving catering and event business and a partnership with Paper Source that includes pop-up shops, stationery, and a party collection.
Through the years and our expansion, we’ve stayed true to our original idea—to create a home away from home, a place where you can find comfort, along with delicious food, decadent desserts, and ir- resistible drinks.
About Our Book: Maman in Your Kitchen
Writing a cookbook has been a goal for almost as long as we’ve had maman. The café has been a way to share not only our recipes but also the comfort that comes from cooking and eating together. With this book, we’re excited to bring that experience to an even larger community, including those who don’t live near one of our locations. Our fans will be happy to finally have some of our most coveted recipes, but for us this book is more than just a collection of recipes. It’s the next step in the maman journey, which is a love story at its core.
We opened maman as a couple, thrilled to build something together and work side by side, but our team quickly became our family. In addition to sharing their talents and creativity, they’ve also shared their own family recipes, which is why our menu—and now our cookbook—features recipes not just from our mamans and grandmothers, but also from our extended maman family. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
While we work in the food industry, we’re not professional chefs; we learned by doing. A few of the recipes in this book are a bit more challenging, but most are incredibly accessible, and all are written for home cooks. Our recipes are drawn from a repertoire of family classics that are both simple and adaptable, so you can cook and enjoy them time and time again. They are meant to draw you to the kitchen, inspire you to create, and then lead you to the table to nourish and connect with the ones you love.
We organized the book to reflect different ways you can enjoy the maman experience and our all-day café style. Part is dedicated to breakfast and brunch and includes both sweet and savory options, while Part II features dishes that can be enjoyed throughout the day, from soups and salads to sandwiches and quiches. Part III is devoted to what maman is famous for, irresistible sweets, including cakes, cookies, and tarts, plus recipes and tips for making some of our delicious drinks at home.
We hope you’ll think of this book as a scrapbook, a place where you can gather and record your ideas and inspirations. If you find a cake is too sweet, make a note to use less sugar next time. If you don’t have cauliflower and discover broccoli works even better, write that down. Don’t be afraid to scribble on the pages and jot down your ideas. When it comes time for you to pass these recipes on to your loved ones, you’ll want them to know how you made them your own. With your special touches, this book will become a cherished heirloom for you and your family to treasure for years to come.
We’ve been delighted and honored by the response to maman, and with this book not only are we sharing some of our most beloved recipes, but we’re also telling the stories behind them, all in the hope that you’ll make them in your own kitchen. We wrote this book to help you enjoy the maman experience, whether that means hosting a brunch for your girlfriends, baking cookies for your kids, or treating yourself to our Lavender Hot Chocolate (page 237). Even more important, we hope our recipes and stories help you create new memories with your loved ones, both in the kitchen and around the table.