Eric Kayser holds a loaf of bread as he stresses the importance of freshly made products. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – Well-known French baker Eric Kayser is hoping that Filipinos will love his creations as he graced the launch of his first store in the country on Wednesday.
Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger was brought to the country by a group of young entrepreneurs led by basketball player Chris Tiu. Its first branch here, a grab-and-go bakery, is located at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati.
The Rockwell branch adds to Kayser’s more than 90 stores in 17 countries such as France, Japan, United States, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Portugal.
Eric Kayser with Chris Tiu (second from right) and the rest of his business partners. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
According to Tiu, he and his two partners, Jacky Ang and Kelvin Gaisano, decided to get the franchise “because we really believe in the brand.”
“It has succeeded in so many markets… it goes to show the quality and the consistency of the product,” Tiu said during the launch. “The Philippine market, I believe, is more ready than ever for such global brands with high quality such as Eric Kayser. People are more discerning with their food and they are willing to spend more for high-quality products.”
Inside the first branch of Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger at Power Plant Mall. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
‘Not a chain’
The Paris-based Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger boasts of more than 60 varieties of bread, over 50 types of cakes, around 25 recipes for pastries, and some savory treats.
Despite the numerous branches of his bakery, Kayser stressed that his brand is not a chain, citing his opposition to industrial practices.
“Each Eric Kayser is a unique place, with its own decoration and atmosphere to fit perfectly in its local environment,” he said.
“We are an artisanal bakery, we produce and bake in the shop,” he added. “Nothing is frozen. We’re artisanal, we’re the opposite of industrial.”
Viennoise Chocolate Chip. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
With the limited space of its first Philippine branch, Kayser promises that his team of French and Filipino chefs will come up with a different offering every month on top of the store’s mainstays and bestsellers.
After Rockwell, Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger will open more to-go bakeries at Rustan’s stores in Makati, The Fort and Forbes Park. A café bakery will also be put up at Greenhills Promenade by the second quarter of 2014.
Bringing back ‘the old way’
Kayser came from a long line of bakers in Alsace, France. He started training in 1980 and opened his first bakery in Paris in 1996.
Citing his decades of experience in the baking industry, Kayser believes that the best breads take time and lots of preparation.
“Our breads are slowly hand-kneaded and have a long fermentation period. It takes ten to 12 hours to make bread. That’s the old way and we want to bring that back,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of using only natural ingredients and having a great passion for baking.
“We use a natural liquid leaven… so the bread will have a crunchy golden crust, a soft inside and different aromas,” he said. “You need a lot of passion to make something really good.”
Of course, such high-quality products come at a price that may be quite steep for most Filipinos. Small breads and tarts, for instance, are priced at P65 to P130 each, while loaves cost over P200.
Popular items at Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger’s Rockwell branch include the croissants, which come in plain, chocolate and chocolate almond; the Kouign Amann, a round bread containing layers of butter and sugar; the Ekmek or Turkish honey bread; the chocolate and salted caramel eclairs; the Financier, which is similar to a sponge cake; the Viennoise Chocolate Chip or soft white bread with chocolate chips; and the Tourte de Meule or Sourdough bread.
Eric Kayser's Kouign Amann. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
Kayser observed how Filipinos like sweet breads, adding that they are open to making items that suit the local palate.
“You have a strong bread culture here,” he said.
ERIC KAYSER ARTISAN BOULANGER
Concourse Level, Marketplace by Rustan’s
Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every Sunday.