Perfection, Not Reinvention

Bouchon Bakery has perfected products such as its popular croissants.
 
In New York City, the city that never sleeps and where the 8.5 million residents never stop eating, food trends come and go faster than you can count to 10. For a newcomer to the bakery business scene, it may make sense to concentrate on trendy new products to catch the immediate attention of the crowds. This is not the case for Bouchon Bakery, though, because chef/owner Thomas Keller spends tremendous energy on perfecting products that already taste great.

“The most important thing is staying tried and true to who we are,” says Alessandra Altieri Lopez, who oversees the brand’s operations as director of Bouchon Bakeries, in addition to leading the kitchen and retail teams nationwide.

When new or trendy pastries and breads hit the market, Lopez might ask herself: Maybe we need to create the next big thing? Then she will pause and remember valuable lessons learned from her five years at Bouchon, one of the elite retail bakery operations in the United States.

Nobody truly reinvents the classics. Nobody, for instance, reinvents jeans. For the exact same reason, she says, “you don’t reinvent the croissant.”

Altieri Lopez did travel to France where she picked up subtle techniques to make their croissants a little crispier and flakier with a bit more concentrated flavor. “We constantly want to grow,” she says, “but not reinvent.”

Chef Alessandra Altieri Lopez is the director of Bouchon Bakeries.
 
In July 2003, Keller opened the doors to his first Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, California, next door to Bouchon Bistro and just down the road from The French Laundry. Bouchon Bakery was first conceived as a way to provide both of these restaurants with one-of-a-kind breads, but it quickly blossomed into a retail establishment among Napa Valley’s most popular destinations. Modeled after classic French boulangeries, Keller’s bakeries feature a wide selection of artisanal breads and traditional French desserts drawn from his memories of life in France.

Now with seven locations across the United States in Napa Valley, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and New York City, Bouchon Bakery is known for offering sandwiches, quiche, soups and salads made daily, as well as a wide range of desserts including handmade viennoiserie, confections, pastries, tarts, cookies and more.

The bakery and pastry team gathers once a year, typically in late spring or summer, to plan out the 12-month holiday calendar for seasonal specials that will include flavor like pumpkin in the fall and berries in the spring and summer.

Each location is equipped with the right expertise and equipment to ensure excellent quality control. Bouchon Bakery’s Time Warner property has a chocolate machine to make signature treats.