POCATELLO — Though customers are wowed by Nathan Chandler's dinner plate-sized eclairs, the local baker explained they're pretty normal by European standards.
"Mine, people call them boats. A lot of people say, 'Why are your eclairs so big?' Well that's how big an eclair is supposed to be," explained Chandler who sees no shame in eating one of his massive cream-filled pastries in a single sitting. "They're not supposed to be tiny."
Chandler, the 30-year-old owner of Confections Bakery, doesn't bother with breads. Rather, he prides himself in creating authentic European-style pastries. Along with his memorable eclairs, which sell for $5 each, top sellers include French macaroons, cream puffs and Italian cannolis.
After several years of baking to order for customers from his personal kitchen, he opened his own commercial bakery in February, inside of Flowers by L.D., 715 N. Main St. Business has been steady since the opening day of Confections. Chandler also worked as a barber prior to opening his commercial bakery but gave that up to focus solely on baking.
The large oven and double-doored fridge at Confections have allowed him to increase his production capacity by about 150 percent.
Floral store owner L.D. Wolfley had long supported Chandler with referrals. The marriage of businesses has only improved since Chandler moved his bakery into the flower shop.
"People call now and say, 'I'd like to send cupcakes with floral arrangements.' We'll send them out on a delivery together," Chandler said. "When (customers) come in for a bridal consult, they'll sit down with both of us."
Chandler said his bakery's reputation has benefited through the association with Flowers by L.D., which has served the community for more than 35 years. He explained Flowers by L.D. is known for having high-end, top-quality floral arrangements, and customers expect the same quality from Confections. Wolfley has also been pleasantly surprised by the number of Chandlers' customers who have been coming in and discovering the flower shop.
Though he's had a commercial kitchen for less than a year, Chandler is already known nationally for his baking prowess. In December of 2019, he competed on the Food Network show "Christmas Cookie Challenge."
He has social media followers throughout the country thanks to the show. It became apparent to him that his episode of the "Christmas Cookie Challenge" had re-aired on Nov. 18 when he suddenly had 200 new Instagram followers. He also got a call about the show's re-airing from the woman who won his episode of the challenge and has since become a friend.
Though he doesn't personally like watching himself on TV, his parents love it.
On a smaller and more local stage, Chandler baked the grand champion entry in the wedding cake category at this summer's Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot, with a Hindu-inspired red and gold wedding cake. He also had first-place entries in four other categories, and he serves on the fair's Sugar and Art Committee.
Chandler is a self-taught baker who learned the ropes of running a small business by watching YouTube business tutorials featuring business start-up expert Lady Gretchen.
The bakery celebrated a milestone on Aug. 1, when Chandler added his sister as an employee. She helps fill orders for sugar cookies and chocolate-dipped strawberries and is extremely crafty, though she's not much into baking. She mostly tends to the counter while he works upstairs in the kitchen, freeing Chandler to accept larger orders.