Culinary couple pursues dream in McDonough – Henry County Times – The Henry County Times, Inc.

  Bryan Thoman has always had a love of cooking. Growing up in the late 90’s, Bryan was inspired by many popular shows on Food Network.

  “I would spend late nights watching Emeril and Sara Moulton Live and all of the old school Food Network shows,” said Bryan.

  Bryan later began taking on the role of cooking meals for himself and his mother, trying out the meals he saw being prepared on television.

  “I ended up preparing a lot of our meals because she would be working overnight,” said Bryan. “I would watch all the cooking shows and I would attempt to do things and see how it worked out.”

  Christina Thoman also grew up surrounded by a love of food.  

Bryan and Christina Thoman are the owners of Starshines Café and Patisserie, a French style bakery in McDonough. Special photo

  When she was younger, Christina would spend time in the kitchen with her great aunt and great uncle.

  “[They] were the cooks of the family,” said Christina. “I didn’t necessarily love to cook. I loved to watch them cook, though. I was especially fascinated when my great uncle would make pies and noodles. Just watching him do that was mesmerizing and it made me feel like it was something I wanted to do.”

  After graduating high school in 2000, Bryan began culinary school. He graduated from Florida Culinary Institute in 2001. And, in 2002, Bryan married his high school sweetheart, Christina.

  Following high school, Christina began to think about her future and Bryan became an influence in her dream to go to school for baking.

  “That’s something I would never have considered on my own had he not pursued that as a career,” said Christina. “I was inspired by him and I thought, maybe I could do this, but I didn’t really want to cook. I love baking.”

  For a while, Bryan and Christina worked together in various restaurants, with her in the front of the house and him in the back.

  “We always wanted to be together all hours of the day, so wherever I was working or wherever she was working, we were always working together,” said Bryan.

  Then, when they began to have a family, Christina took on the task of raising their children and she placed her dream of going to culinary school on the backburner.

  Once their children got older, she decided that it was finally time for her to go to culinary school. She graduated from the Art Institute in Atlanta in the summer of 2019.

  Over the years, both Bryan and Christina gained restaurant and culinary experience by working in locations all over the country.

  Bryan has worked as an Executive Chef for 12 years in restaurants around the country, to include Southern Proper Hospitality in Buckhead and as the Executive Sous Chef for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Christina has worked as a Pastry Chef for Gypsy Kitchen and Southern Gentleman in Buckhead as well as the Waldorf Astoria in Buckhead.

  They now hope to turn their years of experience into a thriving business on the Historic McDonough Square.

  Bryan and Christina moved to McDonough in May of 2018 and began leasing space in April of 2020 on the Square.

  Starshines Café and Patisserie is a “French style patisserie specializing in classic and contemporary European style pastries and desserts, artisan breads and breakfast and lunch items,” reads their Facebook page.

  The name for Bryan and Christina’s restaurant was influenced by their shared love of a band called 311.

  “[Starshines] references a band with a very positive message,” said Bryan. “A message we always try to say is for people to stay positive and love their lives. It’s kind of a motto that we try to operate our business and our lives under.”

  Although their patisserie has not yet officially opened, Bryan and Christina have looked to serve the Henry County community in the best way possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

  “With COVID-19 happening we saw all the empty shelves – no flour, no bread or anything – I wanted to figure out a way to support the community and provide them with something they couldn’t get,” said Bryan. “I put out on social media that we would begin baking croissants and bagels and breads from home and delivering them. It really became quite the undertaking.”

  For Bryan and Christina, finally settling down in McDonough and opening their own restaurant is a dream and one that they hope will make McDonough an even better place to live, work, and visit.

  “Our goal is to bring something that McDonough and Henry County doesn’t have and try to be a part of this revitalization that is happening on the Square right now,” said Bryan.

  Bryan and Christina are still awaiting certain licenses and their certificate of occupancy before they are able to open their doors officially to the public, although they are currently offering limited service.

  For updates on hours of operation and menu item availability, visit the Facebook page, Starshines Café and Patisserie.

  For more information, visit their website at, call 470-781-5290 or email