Colorful and flaky meringue discs are sandwiched together with jam, chocolate and other sweet and unique concoctions like key lime coconut, oatmeal cookie and lemon raspberry. They almost look too pretty to eat. Almost.
Paired with a glass of champagne at noon, all of a sudden a typical Wednesday feels a little more like a quick trip to the City of Light thanks to Megan Gordon, better known around Kirkland as Lady Yum. But Gordon wasn’t raised with a little fuzzy beret on her tiny blond head in Paris. Baking got into her blood in a remote Alaskan village, where she was raised with brothers in a singlewide trailer in a junkyard. Her brave mom homeschooled them all.
“Whenever I tied on my apron, she would toss me a cookbook and say, ‘Have at ’er, honey,’” Gordon remembers. She later taught herself to make macarons — quite a technical little cookie to do correctly — with the help of YouTube, baking blogs, cookbooks and “figuring it out.”
She went to Pacific Lutheran University at age 17 and earned a business degree and ended up landing a solid corporate job with a steady paycheck as an operations manager at a wealth management firm. One of her favorite parts of the job was mentoring college graduates. She’d advise them to align their passions with their career goals to create the ultimate career satisfaction.
Shortly before her 30th birthday, Gordon looked into the mirror and realized she was being a hypocrite. Her job was good, solid and safe — but she wasn’t happy. She had always been more of a creative type — even pondered majoring in music. So she quit. And Lady Yum was born.
“I have always baked. I began baking professionally (i.e. getting paid for it) in September 2011 when I left my job in investment banking. I still don’t really consider myself a pastry chef. I’m sure I break baking rules all the time and there is a lot that I don’t know,” she said. “I am most passionate about business — making money, supporting my community, and creating jobs for people. Baking is just how I do that.”
She opened her Kirkland shop last summer and hasn’t looked back. It was scary, and it forced her to get to know herself better. It also required her to ask — and accept — help from others. While it may seem that a career at an investment firm is worlds apart from one in cookies, the common core to the success of both paths has been her business degree, she says.
“I’ve had to do a lot of terrifying things to get to this point as far as my comfort zone is concerned, work a lot of long, dirty, lonely days, miss out on parties, vacations, and swallow my pride more times than I can count. Starting a business is very humbling and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
And because Gordon followed her heart, she has created a special place for other people to step away from their crazy lives, grab a sweet macaron, sip champagne and maybe dream a little.
Macaron vs. Macaroon
People will pop their head into the store and say, “Oh, I don’t like macaroons.” The similarities between macarons and macaroons pretty much end at the word “cookie.”
Macarons are French. They are meringue-like sandwich cookies with different flavored fillings. They are light, flaky, perfectly round and often brightly colored.
Macaroons are typically dense cookies most often mixed with coconut in America. Sometimes they are dipped in chocolate.
When You Go
111 Lake St., Kirkland, 425.285.9628
Hours: 11am-10pm Tuesday-Saturday; 11am-8pm Sunday.
Most macarons are just under $2 each at the store. Other local products, wine and champagne also are offered. Lady Yum caters events, like weddings, and has gift boxes.