bake - March 2018 - 27

"We are going against the wave.
We want to allow young bakers who
don't have the money to open stores."

Est. 1993

Pascal Rigo, founder of La Boulange

products are clean, and I'm very proud

bread flour. "The raw materials for me was

of it."

very important, to be able to work with
farmers to process their wheat."

From 2013 to 2015, Starbucks grew its
food business dramatically, and Rigo

Around this time, an upstart grocery

played an instrumental role. Still, he felt

chain called Trader Joe's, then with 40


locations, was beginning to attract a

Gum Paste Flowers

loyal following of customers who were
"The big frustration was that nobody

passionate about organic foods. "We

knew about it," he says. "I told Starbucks,

decided to introduce Pain Pascal to

'Let's put food bars in all US locations

Trader Joe's, and it is still sold today at

and change them every three months

Trader Joe's 460 locations. Initially, we

and tell people about the food.' They

had one small production point - only

said no. I realized they are a coffee

selling very premium organic bread. The

company not wanting to become a food

bakery had to increase in size to meet

company. I became unsure, and I sent a

demand. We grew extremely organically."

very nice letter to Howard."
As business grew, so did his desire to
A year after announcing plans to close

open a retail store. "That was the starting

the La Boulange locations, Starbucks

point. The problem is it worked very

said it was partnering with Princi, a high-

well," Rigo says with a chuckle.

Icing, Cookie & Cupcake Decorations

end Italian bakery and cafe founded by
Rocco Princi in 1986. 

Here lies the essence of the ongoing
friction within Rigo's soul. He strives to

Early life lessons

excel at everything, but once it works

Born and trained in professional artisan

out well, the size and complexity of the

baking in the Bordeaux region of France,

new operation conflicts with his internal

Rigo learned early on about how to craft

desire to keep it small and local.

Décor, Mystical & Razzle Dazzle Powders
FDA Approved "Crystal Color Dusts"


recipes from all over the world. This
enlightened background in bread baking

So when Starbucks founder Howard

is one reason he is so passionate about

Schultz reached out to Rigo and

encouraging young bakers to discover.

presented the opportunity to "do craft
bread at a big scale," he agreed - but

In 1991, at the age of 31, "I decided to go

now understands the enormous chal-

to the US," he says. "There were too many

lenge he faced.

great bakers in France that I figured the
only way to make it was to leave."

"When you decide to say yes, you
need to do it for good reason. I had no

Once he arrived in San Francisco, Rigo

reason to sell my business, but this guy

discovered a small organic flour mill in

(Schultz) was extraordinary. Starbucks

Logan, Utah, that specializes in organic

does 68 million transactions a week."

Edible Isomalt Gems

Come visit us
at Booth 612
at the ABE April
8-9, 2018

Foil Cake

800-325-3326 · Fax 516-676-6076


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of bake - March 2018