A « new aristocracy of artisans » has emerged in a country, France, where any manual job was considered inferior to any intellectual job until recently. When I left fashion to roll up my sleeves in a kitchen, twenty years ago, my family and friends were very skeptical. They were worried not because of the uncertain income but because of the social downgrading it represented. Today everybody says what a great idea I had.
My American friends first opened my eyes years ago when I met a graduate in philosophy who was seriously considering the CIA , I thought “how strange, why would he want to do that”? Today the phenomenon of white collars turning to artisanal activities because deeply unsatisfied with their « Wall Street » corporate jobs, has become a standard.
ALBAN, 33 years old, opened « Le Petit Parisien », boulangerie pâtisserie, a stone’s throw from us, in December 2016. Son of a diplomat, he spent his childhood abroad, in India, Austria, Spain, USA where he missed French bread and learned to appreciate its distinctive superiority. A Business School graduate, he won the bid launched by the Mairie de Paris to reopen a long time inactive bakery located in my hip neighborhood. After months and months of waiting (this is France), he had to undertake huge reconstruction and costly investments, at his expense. But he probably knew how to persuade the banks.
He hired his employees through professional schools and mostly his own network. Alban’s training is a mix of self taught by observation, a cursus at EBP and short stints with his suppliers Moulin de Chars and Moulin de Brasseuil for the organic only baguettes.
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Alban’s training is a mix of self taught by observation, a cursus at EBP www.ebp-paris.com/france/uk and short stints with his suppliers Moulin de Chars (www.moulinsdechars.com) and Moulin de Brasseuil (www.moulindebrasseuil.com) for the organic only baguettes.
Bio (organic) is gaining more and more importance and ALBAN plans to develop that niche. He believes this is why he won the Mairie’s competition, in spite of his lack of experience. Just like electing a President with no previous political experience seems to be the trend.
And since today les boulangeries are making excellent pâtisseries, unlike in the past, Alban hired a pastry chef who worked at Stohrer (www.stohrer.fr) the rue Montorgueil historic pastry shop where so many of you met me for a market tour.
Lately I have been busy preparing my move to Lyon and serving his amazing tarte au citron meringuée for my farewell parties. Alban is all but a pastry chef, so he lets Loïc follow his inspiration, then they test together and Alban approves, or not. I can tell you the cake au chocolat is « à mourir ».
His challenge is to grow, to develop his offer and yet to maintain quality. The usual dilemma. He plans to extend his clientèle to the many surrounding office workers and students.
Meanwhile, residents and the numerous local Airbnb tourists have adopted Le Petit Parisien, its excellent baguettes at 1,10 euros, its range of special breads its attractive and tasty viennoiseries and pâtisseries plus the lunchtime sandwiches and quiches. The friendly staff, including the owner has conquered us.
And his parents ? First skeptical, now 100% supportive
Le Petit Parisien
17, rue du Verbois