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Arnaud de Rambures, owner and baker of Chez Arnaud, LLC, “The French Bakery,” was born in 1986 in La Réunion, a French Island in the Indian Ocean. At age 18, Arnaud began his career in the humanitarian field and founded an organization dedicated to schools and libraries in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa. In the city of Saponé, a town in central Burkina Faso, the organization built an elementary school and library. The organization continues to develop new schools and to the support of children of Burkina Faso.

In 2006, following his graduation from business school in Paris, Arnaud worked with an American company to develop sales of cardiac surgical devices in France and Africa. After several years he decided to leave the medical device field and focus on artisanal work. The work of the skilled artisan has been devalued more and more over the past several years and Arnaud embraced the challenge to make it a different experience. His idea was to focus on the difference between the artisans’ work and that of the industrial workers.

French breads, Chez Arnaud

French breads, Chez Arnaud

The work of the artisan, for Arnaud, is a combination of love and passion — the major difference that allows him to create and innovate new products — encouraging ongoing feedback from his clientele. A graduate of the French Institute of Baking and Pastry (Institut National de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie) in Rouen, France, he decided to jump to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to bring a new experience to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. Arnaud is 26-years-old and very involved in his three bakeries and their neighborhoods of Maple Grove, White Bear Lake, and Grand Avenue in Saint Paul. Chez Arnaud, The French Bakery.

INSPIRATION:

AWP: Name the books and movies, works of art and music, fashion or cuisine that have inspired you.

ADR: My favorite cookbooks would be by Pierre Hermé (PH10) and Gerard Mulot; two older pastry chefs who have always moved forward to create better products and better flavors. They brought their passion to the top of what anyone could expect — and they are still bringing dreams to many people by the experiences they share and by the modernism and techniques they develop every day.

On a personal side, Le Petit Prince, by Saint-Exupéry has always marked my existence by its vision of life, loyalty, love and respect!

WORDS OF WISDOM:

AWP: What is the best (or worst) advice you’ve ever given or received?

ADR: Never forget your dream, and never stop fighting for it! When you want, you can!

AWP: What handed-down wisdom did you receive from your mother or father?

ADR: My parents always pushed me to understand the value of work and involvement. Things don’t show up in your life if you don’t fight for them! Never expect a return. It is what you do that will make you stronger, not the return you would expect.

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES:

AWP: In your youth, what did you imagine your adult life would hold? What influenced this vision?

ADR: I have always been excited about growing up. I couldn’t wait for my life to start! I wanted more than ever to walk in my own direction and prove to myself that I could reach my dream. I originally thought I would get married and have children before the age of 23… and be a pilot! The years have made me realize that I would get bored in a cockpit all day long. I wanted to get my professional career started so that I could really dedicate my attention and my time for the one who would be in my heart.

AWP: In your early teens, what formed your romantic fantasies of adventure and love?

ADR: I actually shared most of my times with girls when I was younger! I never liked soccer and I always thought that boys were immature.

AWP: What were your favorite childhood things to do?

ADR: My favorite hobby was to build small aircrafts so I could make them fly! I started with airplanes made of paper, then, wood and epoxy. I would spend hours every day piloting them because I was not yet of the age to pilot a real one. For me, it was a way to look at the sky and enjoy this liberty that no one could touch.

I was also involved in artistic photography. I was lucky to travel a lot and my favorite thing was to capture on paper the feelings, faces and stolen smiles of my journeys. It was a way to remember that whatever the environment and wherever the country, whether the people were rich or not, happiness could always subsist!

CREATIVITY:

AWP: What nourishes your passions?

ADR: The idea of being able to create something different and innovative. I feel like I am never getting to the final point — that this is just an improvement, a trial to reach for the best!

AWP: How did you get your foot in the door at the beginning of your career?

ADR: Things are not always easy when you are young. You have to prove to the people around you that they made the right choice to believe in you. I always started by accomplishing small tasks, so people could give me the chance to do more the next time.

PERSONAL STYLE:

AWP: Was being stylish important to you growing up in your teens? Is it now?

ADR: No, it has actually not been that important in my childhood. My parents were not fashion oriented at all. They educated us in a simple environment so we could better understand what really matters in our life.

Today, my vision has evolved a little. Fashion is a way to define an atmosphere, an environment. If you want to attract people’s attention, you have to create the atmosphere they are looking for.

CUISINE:

AWP: Tell me about your cooking and eating habits and traditions.

ADR: I was born between two universes: the Indian meals from my Mauritian mother and the French habits of my father. From these two universes, I kept a big space for spicy meals and also for typical French dishes like Cassoulet, Tartiflette or Raclette; and, of course, some good crêpes for busier moments. Family lunches are a hit since it is the best way to gather together brother, sister, parents, cousins and uncles or aunts! The meal is even more intense when you share it with the right people!

AWP: What was your most memorable meal to date?

ADR: A pique-nique in Sonoma Valley on a delightful June day in 2011 under the California sun with wine, Ciabatta bread, some organic products, a long time friend and the sunshine of my life! It was most memorable because we realized that we didn’t need anything else than what we had to be happy! 

AWP: What is in your refrigerator right now?

ADR: Foie Gras, French cheeses and cold meat. A good way to remember my family and friends living in France and cultivate my French roots!

ART OF LIVING:

AWP: What do you live for? What do you love above all?

ADR: My admiration comes from people who always strive for more. Life is short, so life deserves that we live it at 200%! Every single person on earth has his or her weaknesses and strengths. Never stop when you believe you did enough, but always strive for the best of yourself. Passionate people are the ones who make you move forward, they are the ones who make you believe everything is possible.

AWP: What natural gift would you most like to possess? What talent are you most thankful for?

ADR: I am happy the way it is. I am thankful for everything I have so far. But, I wouldn’t say that I have a specific talent.

AWP: What question are you tired of being asked?

ADR: Why I moved to Minnesota to open my bakeries!

You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris® post, Paris macaron, love in the afternoon, by Barbara Redmond who tells about the French women who vanished back into the streets of Paris, exiting Pierre Hermé, this elegant confectionary, each clutching her little cellophane bag of macaron, her Le goûter (afternoon treat). But, Frenchwomen do not snack… or do they? Paris locations included for Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, beloved for their Paris macaron. 

Le Cordon Bleu in Paris: Another “Sabrina” story, by Karen Cope, food industry specialist, who shares her experiences at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. She writes about her classes: basic pastry: meringues (French, Swiss and Italian); basic cuisine: classic French soups; second basic pastry: puff pastry; and the recipe and methods at Le Cordon Bleu.

Pain Perdu: Childhood love of French custard and bread, by Barbara Redmond who shares her discovery of pain perdu (French toast), from the boulangerie pâtisserie Calixte in Î’le St. Louis, Paris. French toast: a favorite treat eaten in the gardens of Notre Dame in an air of whimsy and childhood delight. Recipe included for “original French toast,” made by Christophe Raoux of the L’École de Cuisine d’Alain Ducasse for Mark Schatzker, ABC News explore 

Foie Gras – Just Because! by French writer Laurence Haxaire who writes, in France, even if foie gras is the star of holiday dinners at the end of the year, it is a traditional dish all year long. There are thousands of ways to serve foie gras; as hors d’oeuvre, or entrée. Recipe included for La Terrine de Foie Gras aux Pommes d’Elké (Foie Gras with apples), and Foie Gras à la Vapeur (Foie Gras marinated in salt, pepper and cognac, and steamed), and Foie Gras Poêllé (Foie Gras sautéed with a bit of sweet white wine).

A Woman’s Paris — Elegance, Culture and Joie de Vivre

We are captivated by women and men, like you, who use their discipline, wit and resourcefulness to make their own way and who excel at what the French call joie de vivre or “the art of living.” We stand in awe of what you fill into your lives. Free spirits who inspire both admiration and confidence.

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. — Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971)

Text copyright ©2012 Arnaud de Rambures. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.
barbara@awomansparis.com

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