This Sunday, I'm handing over the metephorical microphone to Pastry Boy, Paul Waters.
There are many reasons as to why I opened the store; the first and foremost being that I love the baking/cooking industry, I'd be lost with out my sweet tooth. This kind of shop really doesn't exist in Paris either and when the cupcake landed on French shores several years ago, it's been a huge hit and has opened the doors and people's eyes somewhat more to the industry. Especially the American and English baking side of it which is what my shop specializes in, cupcake cases, fondant, cookie cutters etc.
Although the French are great at making pastries and other things, its all very professional. There is nothing catering towards the home baker - many stores are pricey and intimidating to the "weekend baker". I want to be able to use my store to encourage and inspire people to get baking, to be creative and most importantly, to have fun. And because my kind of shop doesn't really exist in France, it meant I could create the industry and do what I want. I feel the industry in the UK is very feminine, pink and girly, which is not a bad thing but what if that's not your style or your scene? What if you're a guy who just wants to make something special for his partner? Paris is also a city that highly respects artists and writers so I felt that to a point I could do what I felt was best for the industry and be respected for it/appreciated with out being told off by the British guild of sugar crafters.
I love Paris, the café culture, the art, the night life I find it hard to imagine living anywhere else in the world. All these points are just some of reasons as to why I said yes to Paris.
2. How do you find living in Paris?
I love living in Paris. The culture is one of a kind and great fun to be a part of or even just observing it from a Parisian café. Some of the French people I have met and have worked with have certainly lived up to their stereotype but the vast majority of the French have been warm, welcoming and accepting - something they are not really known for! I love exploring the city and as an artist/creative person at heart, I feel so at home strolling the streets where the likes of Oscar Wilde and other great artists have strolled. Although many complain about the tax system and how hard it is to set up a business here, I think and feel it is fair, justified and necessary. If you want to open a business here, you have to really want it and be prepared to fight for it which is good in some respects as it makes people more serious and if you're serious and passionate about what you're doing, you are less likely to fail.
3. What are you looking to change about the food scene here?
So the French are good bakers, fact, but why aren't people baking in their homes? Ok we all know Parisian apartments have tiny kitchens but still! Come on people, get baking, be creative and have fun. Baking fresh from home is more healthy then buying a pre-made cake in a supermarket. I also want people to be more aware of ingredients like sugar paste and all the amazing things you can do with it!
Primarily, I just want people to have fun and know they can bake at home and with the help of my store, I hope to do just that. I will be launching an Internet store soon so I can reach out to the rest of France as well as a blog and online video tutorials all designed to help people get baking!
4. I think I might already know the answer to this, but if you could only eat one item of food for the next month, what would it be?
Now that's a tough question, anything sugar related will do me just fine, but if I had to choose it would be millionaires shortbread. Sorry for being British there, but one layer of biscuit, caramel and chocolate... what more could I ask for? The pleasure is never ending, the novelty and taste never wears off on me.
5. Can you share with us a useful piece of advice for baking/a under-used but important technique?
USE YOUR HANDS! This may sound obvious but so many people think it all comes down to who has a kitchen aid mixer and who doesn't. There was a time in this world when we didn't have those kinds of things and everything was done by hand nowadays, everything is done by machine. People seriously under estimate the value of their hands, they're free after all. So go on, don't be afraid to break a nail, get in there, get messy, have fun and enjoy the results!
6. Where do you get your morning croissant?
There are loads of great places to get croissants in Paris but if I had to choose I would say the Au Levain du Marais is great as I live nearby and very often on my way to work in the 10th, I will take a detour just to get one or maybe three!
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