bake - March 2018 - 26

open stores in France. We are going against the wave.

Rockridge neighborhood, occupying the former loca-

We want to allow young bakers who don't have the

tion of Pasta Pomodoro. This is the eighth location of

money to open stores. We will help with financing."

the small chain. They "strive to bring a little taste of
France to every customer every day. Using only the

As of early February, Rigo says that five such stores

freshest all-natural ingredients, everything we serve

have opened in France, and a dozen more are set

is made daily from scratch, from the breads and the

to open soon, including three in Paris. He envisions

pastries to the sauces and the salad dressings."

young bakers using their education to take new
risks and try different methods to produce the most

Rigo opened the first La Boulange location in San

flavorful breads on the planet. "Just to say there's a

Francisco in 1999 and joined Starbucks as part of its

different way to imagine bakeries today in France,

acquisition of La Boulange from a management and

which is very traditional," he says. "Everything is

investment group. At the time, La Boulange was oper-

possible if you have conviction."

ating 19 retail locations in the Bay Area.

Baking in San Francisco

Rigo and his team went from baking 250 croissants a

Rigo is best known for founding La Boulange, a small

day per bakery to overseeing the production of one

chain of Bay Area cafe-bakery shops that he sold in

million croissants per day for Starbucks.

2013 to Starbucks for $100 million and later opened
under a different name, La Boulangerie. In January

"We installed one freezer per hour for the first two

2018, the first La Boulangerie de San Francisco

and a half years," he says. "We stuck to our principles,

outside San Francisco city limits opened in Oakland's

offering great bread at affordable prices. Today, their



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