The Wordrobe’s editor Sophie Ritchie talks flour power with entrepreneur and baking connoisseur, Eric Kayser
Having grown up as the fourth generation in a baking family originating in Alsace, Northeastern France, Eric Kayser is hailed as one of France’s best bakers.
After opening his first Parisian bakery back in 1996, the entrepreneur’s business success has only continued to rise – and he now has more than 100 bakeries in 21 different countries.
Having opened his first UK based bakery and restaurant (found on the rather fitting location of Baker Street) we visited the newest Maison Kayser to speak with Eric himself about the latest artisan opening…
What inspired you to open the new bakery?
Well, it’s actually been in my plans for the last five years. It was difficult to choose the right location and venue – I wanted to spend time getting it right.
What can foodies expect from the newest Maison Kayser?
Twenty years ago, I opened my first bakery on Friday 13th September. I opened my first London bakery on Friday 13 January – some things just seem seem meant to be!
Aesthetically, it’s a combination of Paris and New York. Design, presentation and attention to detail is all very important – especially when it comes to keeping bread at the forefront. Really, it’s all about the bread. Bread is the star here.
We’re offering a celebration of all things artisan, with delicious bread baked on site throughout the day. There’s a big menu too. From salads and smoothies to pastries and pasta, there’s no shortage of menu options – with both a sit-down restaurant and take away bakery to choose from.
Do you have any favourites from the menu?
Many! I can never resist a fresh Baguette Monge but I also love more exotic choices, such as the Curcuma Viennois bread. It has whole hazelnuts inside and is simply delicious.
What makes a great loaf of bread?
Taste. Taste is everything when it comes to knowing if a bread is truly good or not. There’s more than 200 different flavours in every bread. It’s so important to eat and sample.
To understand good bread is to also understand the concept of levain. Levain is a wild yeast that’s activated by water and heat – it’s effectively a dough that lives. The wild yeast gives bread that crusty texture, air pockets and a wonderfully chewy texture. It takes time to make our bread – a minimum of ten hours.
What provides you with inspiration for recipes?
It depends. It can take a few months, it can take a few weeks. It always varies. It’s like a painting – some days you’ll have inspiration, some days you won’t. We work seasonally so the menu is always changing too.
What’s your opinion on the rise of the gluten-free lifestyle?
We offer a number of gluten-free options here at the bakery but really, I prefer the traditional bread. I think it will never go out of fashion. The flavour just can’t be beaten when it comes to quality.
What’s next on the cards?
For now, I will be concentrating on London’s Maison Kayer! It’s a very busy project – I’ll be returning to the city every two weeks whilst we set up so for now, this is my main focus.
Find out more on MaisonKayser.co.uk