For Laura Illouz, baking is a family affair.
Her bake shop Mia Madison, which opened last month on Great Neck Road, is named for her daughter.
And her craft itself - her love of baking and insistence on from-scratch recipes - can be traced back to her mother and her childhood in Montreal.
“Since I was 10 years old I would always bake,” Illouz said. “I pretty much had it down to a science.”
Illouz’ mother was the owner of a major catering company, booking up to six weddings per weekend, Illouz said.
And though Illouz has no professional culinary schooling, her mother had years of training and passed those skills on to her daughter, Illouz said.
“After school I would go to her catering hall, do my home work, help her,” Illouz said.
Mia Madison’s offerings span a wide range of baked goods, from standard cookies and cupcakes to hamentaschen and cannoli cake.
Illouz, a Melville resident, said her plans to open a bakery were years in the making.
She earned a master’s degree in business from McGill University, splitting time between Canada and New York, where her boyfriend Louis lived. When she and Louis married about three years ago, Illouz moved to Long Island with aspirations of starting a bakery.
“I was always thinking about it, talking about it,” she said.
Those thoughts became a reality after the birth of her daughter Mia, the shop’s namesake. When Illouz first saw the shop’s Great Neck Road storefront, she knew it was the right spot.
“This is what I was looking for,” said Illouz.
Business is steadily increasing, according to Illouz, and some first-time buyers are become repeat customers.
“It’s started to really pick up,” she said.
Illouz said her baking standards made the search for a head baker difficult.
“To find an actual baker that made stuff from scratch was a mission,” Illouz said.
That mission has paid dividends, according to Illouz. While most of the cakes on offer are Illouz’ personal recipes, she said one of her most popular varieties is a cannoli cake - the creation of her head baker, who she described as a baker in the traditional Italian school.
Though caring for her six-month-old daughter makes the early-rise schedule of a baker difficult, Illouz said she still puts in work in front of the oven.
And next on the agenda may be creating a signature cake - named, like the store, for her daughter.
“I have a couple of ideas in my head,” Illouz said.