SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – An artisanal French bakery in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood is raising some eyebrows with the hefty price tag on its handmade brioche loaf: a whopping $29.
You can smell it before you even step inside the bakery; that fresh out-of-the-oven smell wafting through the open doors of Les Gourmand in SoMa.
At least one patron at the bakery thought the price for the loaf of bread was outrageous.
“Yeah, that would be a deal breaker,” she said with a laugh.
The family-run bakery has only been open for six weeks.
It’s the latest venture for co-owner and business manager Sylvain Chaillout after moving to the Bay Area from Normandy, France where his family had run a bakery for decades.
“It’s the same price as any big city,” said Chaillout. “If you’re looking for artisanal job, artisanal work, like the real deal, the real ingredients.”
Outside of Chaillout and his parents, the apprentices working there essentially have no experience in baking, never mind traditional French baking.
“I tried working at Oracle doing sales for a while. And I had some success, but corporate life just wasn’t for me,” said apprentice Greg Johnson.
“Essentially I want to open up my own space to call my own. I feel like here specifically, I can learn it all,” said another apprentice, Fayeeza Shake.
Both are getting paid to learn their new baking skills.
Some of the profits from that nearly $30 loaf of bread are used to fund an 18-month training program that pays the apprentices $14 an hour to learn the traditional ways of French baking.
Every single one of the pastries sold at Les Gourmand is handmade by the apprentices. They’re using recipes from Chaillout’s grandfather.
Chaillout says they are just getting started.
“There is no excuse. Don’t tell the world I can’t train people because it’s too expensive or it takes too much time. It’s not true,” said Chaillout. “You can do it. It’s just harder. Yeah, that’s true.”
Chaillout told KPIX 5 there were 130 applicants for the apprentice positions. Only four are currently working at the bakery full-time.