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.