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Flour Bakery and Cafe Coming to Cambridge

Interesting thread here, I can add some perspective from experience.
I served a 7 year apprenticeship with a Parisien pastry chef, very talented guy.

I made french pastry in Boston for years but there is a lack of appreciation, I could literally sell a cupcake full of trashy filling from a bucket for $3 but couldn't get $2 for napoleons. People are simply more comfortable with homey pastry methinks.
Considering the difference in labor between cupcakes that any dishwasher can taught how to make in 15 seconds vs french pastry it takes a certain stubborness to continue with real pastry. So I retired from french pastry .
After 30 years I don't need to keep banging my head against the wall to prove what I already know. I have some pics.

Striperguy is right on, if you haven't been to Paris you really don't know what you don't know. Other places I visited with superb pastry, Hong Kong, Poland, Ukraine, Belgium but France stands above all.

Boston, nah. My mum could make most of the junk being passed off as pastry.

May 27, 2010
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

Kitchen Nightmares UK - Piccolo Teatro

You can watch most of these programs on youtube or
It was an older series with the french veggie place.

Its easy to point fingers, but I suspect the father made the mistake to allow his daughter to become his higher power. He fears losing her, thats a failed parenting model many fall into.

May 27, 2010
jonesg in Food Media & News

the great croissant hunt

Russo's in watertown, ....frozen.
Look at the pics on their website, when you see croissants lacking in layer seperation like that its a sure sign they are proof and bake.(from frozen)

Now look around, most places are doing just that whether they make the dough or buy it.

Jan 13, 2010
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

the great croissant hunt

MOST people still regard au good pain to be good croissants, all they know is frozen. heres a pic of mine.

Jan 13, 2010
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

Best Cupcakes, for sure!

Do yourself a favor, go to a bakery that actually bakes what they pretend to, party favors has no license to bake from ingredients, they use boxed cake mix and buy their cakes from some place in lynn. Tastes like chemicals.
I can't fathom the fascination with cupcakes anyway.

Mar 06, 2009
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

Nashoba Brook Bakery-South End

I met the owners of Nashoba brook yrs ago, just after they opened and genuine nice folk , if the help has an attitude its just someone not having a finger on the pulse. It takes a certain breed of character to work a counter and stay cheerfull , I'm not of that type at all. But I was always careful to hire people completely unlike me when I ran my bakery.

Lost our lease is just code to me for "rents are too high".

Jan 06, 2008
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

the great croissant hunt

Patiserrie Francais was downstairs on JFK street, opposite Bombay bistro, its planet records now, used CD's etc.
After MAurice sold it we moved up MAss ave to open Autre Chose and I did all the baking there for him.
Savoy Bakery just closed down, I saw the windows covered with paper, the (next) new owners are doing reno, I suspect it'll be another pizza joint or something.
It lasted less than 6 months trying to sell Iggy's croissants.

A pal has taken over the smaller Au Bon Pain in harvard sq and he wants my croissants, its Iggy;s everywhere in the square. I'll just help them get started , its up to them after that. Construction begins January 6.

BTW, I think the cafe vanille on charles is gone.
Its the rent, the product was excellent.
Rents are pushing $10-15K a month for prime areas.
Why all these people open bakeries is beyond me,
they seem to make a small fortune by starting out with a large fortune.

Jan 06, 2008
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

In search of brioche

Its pain au lait, instead of using milk and butter they just make it with heavy cream, its the same recipe as brioche but replace the eggs with cream.
I used to make it for all sorts of viennoiserie.
Its very expensive to bake.

Dec 09, 2007
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

Challah and other bread tales

Bagels have to be plonked in boiling water, then baked.
the problem today is the newer methods just steam them first, then bake.
All in the same oven, its a very fast process but its not a real bagel.

Dec 09, 2007
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

Chocolate truffle shells?

Uster imports used to sell them, they also sold the molds to make them but they might have fallen out of favor due to cost, its so much cheaper (and quicker) not to use the shell.

Many wholesalers are concerned about selling to the public because the products aren't legally labelled for the retail mkt. Restaurant depot in Needham is the place to go if you can get in the door , its not open to the public but I notice a lot of russians are staring to appear there buying for the home.
Boneless chicken $1.25 lb.
Callebaut couverture, $3lb.
Hi gluten flour $12 x 50lb

Dec 09, 2007
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

the great croissant hunt

Yep, big n cottony is correct. He was the former production manager at iggys' thats the connection and why he feels they are good.

Whilst it looks like theres a resurgence of bakeries, there really isn't.

I dropped into new paris bakery a few weeks ago, they tell the same story, its a losing battle to try and compete against the machines.
I would never open a bakery again but I do still make a decent amount of croissants for corp catering and my accounts.

Flour is going to open a restaurant, the bakery will probably go away if the restaurant works out. Sadly, theres simply no money in pastry.
I enjoyed baking, its fun work but when you hit 50 and don't have any retirement to speak of and are still stuck in an apt...
I know I made the right move.

Dec 07, 2007
jonesg in Greater Boston Area

the great croissant hunt

Patisserie Francaise caught my eye, I did my apprenticeship there in 1970 until 1975, its long gone. I also opened Savoy in Brookline in 83 with Carol.
Sold it to Pat. she sold it to the current owner and its just been sold again.!
It just doesn't work to try selling iggy's croissant there.
I did offer to supply him but he's convinced Iggys is great, the customers aren't.
Over-processed, machine rolled, over-proofed = not flaky.

Heres the bad news , most of the places listed sell frozen proof n bake.
I was the pastry chef at the meridien, frozen again. I hate hotels.
There simply aren't that many people around who can bake period.
I got out of baking and started catering. Soo much easier.

btw, if you happen to one of those customers I screamed at over the yrs,
you deserved it.

Dec 07, 2007
jonesg in Greater Boston Area