By continuing to browse this site, you accept the use of cookies, which will share your experience with us. It will also allow us to work out how many visitors we get to our website and ensure that it functions correctly.

Do not show

TOP

Corman Artisan

Interviews

March 2018

A baker's passion, the story of gaëtan paris, meilleur ouvrier de france

For Gaëtan Paris, a passion for baking originated with a visit to the bakehouse…what began as simple curiosity quickly turned into a true revelation. The Master Baker began his training in a traditional French company, near Mayenne where he was born. He then decided to go to Paris and train in the art of pastry making. After gaining a number of qualifications, Gaëtan Paris, who has always thrived on a challenge, prepared for the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Bakery) competition, a title he was awarded in 1997.

Learn, train, share: the passions of Gaëtan Paris

Today, Gaëtan Paris is an independent consultant: he works directly with both companies and artisans alike through thematic workshops. Modest by nature, he likes to remind himself that he is always learning. Although he has trained at many established institutions, he values the artisan baker and pastry maker for their commitment to the process of permanent training, which he has made part of his own mission. As he puts it: "Obtaining the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France is a difficult task. Maintaining that level of expertise is even more so. For this reason I believe in being curious, inspired by what I see and the people I meet, the countries I visit and the products I discover. In my local and international workshops I sometimes get the chance to observe other production methods. This exchange of knowledge is very enriching."

Challenge for the future: product quality and artisanal savoir-faire

The training to become a baker and pastry chef is not only a virtue, it's an obligation. Up against serious competition from large distribution and international networks, who dominate the market with promotional offers and powerful marketing tools, the artisan baker cannot win in terms of pricing. Their ammunition is the human element: deft hands, ingredients sourced for their quality, and forging relationships with customers. Customers have become increasingly mindful of "home made." It is here that artisans must set themselves apart from the crowd. Frozen bread or pastry products are no longer sought after - quite the contrary in fact.

The work of the baker and pastry chef begins with the purchase of ingredients, because, as we say in French, "You can't make a good croissant without good butter." And he has more to say: "At the same time, savoir-faire is equally important. These are the two essential pillars holding up the future of our profession. Today, expert artisans are widening the gap. We can no longer afford to remain good. We must be very good."

A multi-faceted craft, a craft of passion

When asked which qualities are key to becoming a good baker and pastry chef, Gaëtan Paris responds without hesitation : "These are two very different but complementary trades! The artisanal professional must be competent in both. Mastering the two is an essential part of training and leading the team." A solid dose of motivation, interpersonal qualities and thorough dedication is therefore necessary when dealing with long hours and managing both the team and the shop itself. Indeed, success is possible but one must be tenacious, generous and passionate. And to add: "I recommend training in good establishments and remaining curious throughout one's career."

Gaëtan Paris - what does he think about the latest trends?

Gaëtan Paris also imparts his passion through his reference books – true "bibles" dedicated to the art of baking and, in particular, to pastry making. And his latest publication is all about treats. "For a few years now, bakeries have been retaining clients who come in at lunch time. They come in to buy a sandwich, a drink and want a small dessert included in the deal. A portion of tart, a small cake or pastry. So it's in the best interest of the baker and pastry chef to increase the selection of snacks and treats.”

Has this latest trend also become an established tradition in your shop?