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."
Pascal Rigo, founder of La Boulange
products are clean, and I'm very proud
bread ﬂour. "The raw materials for me was
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.
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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."
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Come visit us
at Booth 612
at the ABE April
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800-325-3326 · Fax 516-676-6076
bakemag.com | MON 2018 > 27
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