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The secret of a French baguette with Éric Kayser, the founder of Maison Kayser bakeries!

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Can you introduce yourself quickly to So Chic?

I am Éric Kayser, we opened our first bakery in 1996 and now we have more than 200 shops in the world, in 88 countries. I am very happy because we are inaugurating our fifth shop in Singapore!

You come from a family of craft bakers; did this guide your career choice?

Yes, when I was very young, perhaps 4 or 5 years, my dream was to be a baker and to travel around the world, to teach people how they can make a beautiful bread. So, we can say that I realised what I wanted to be!

What are the keys to your success?

I think there are three very important points: first the choice of ingredients, I always try to choose the best ingredients, the most natural and of quality. Number two is the know-how, we need to transfer all the time our passion to young bakers. Number three is the design and the decoration, you need to take care of the architecture of the brand and the estheticism of the products.

The choice of ingredients […], the know-how […] and the design
Eric Kayser

What was your biggest failure?

It is sometimes difficult when you have partners in different countries, for example in 2007 we opened three shops in California, Los Angeles and it was a success but unfortunately the connection with our partner wasn’t good so we decided to diversify. The most important are people and human resources; and there are constantly things to learn and to adjust in order to improve.

What makes you different from others?

I think it is my passion, I try to teach others how to take care of the ingredients, the design and I think it is the most important. But it is also my perseverance which is very important to realise big projects.

Are your ingredients French?

No, maybe 30% of our ingredients are French: the flour, the chocolate and the butter. In Singapore, they don’t have these types of ingredients. But for example, in Korea we use Korean flour so it depends on the country.

30% of our ingredients are French
Eric Kayser

Why did you choose Japan for your first export?

Japan was my dream! When I saw Japanese people coming to my bakery in Paris, I saw the passion they had, their taste for French delicacy that’s why I knew they would appreciate our products. Now we have 46 shops in Japan, I am very happy for that!

Are you trying to adapt your recipes to different countries?

Yes of course! For example, we decided to work on the pain de mie in Singapore because people here love soft breads, soft sandwiches because they don’t have the gum for something crispy.

What are your best sellers in Singapore?

There is the matcha orange bread, we use tea in the recipe. People also enjoy the croissant with tuna which is very famous in Hong Kong too. But I think that our best seller is the Sourdough bread, the fermentation is very specific and natural, it takes 24 hours to make this bread. I was very surprised because people here are not accustomed to eating bread every day as in France.

What is the secret of a successful baguette?

At first you need to find the good ingredients, the right flour of French tradition without any preservatives. After you must have a long fermentation, we use 10 hours to produce a beautiful baguette. Time is the key!

You need to find the good ingredients […] and have a long fermentation
Eric Kayser

Was it easy to set up in Singapore?

The most difficult in Singapore is to find a good location because the rent is very expensive. It is also difficult to find the good ingredients, the workers… so it is not so easy.

Who are your best customers in Singapore?

It depends where. We have a shop in Raffles Place and there are a lot of working professionals and families. Also, we have an important French community coming for our products.

What do you think of Singapore? Compared to France?

I love Singapore, it was my dream to come here because it is a very quiet city, people are nice, everything is easy! It is very different because in Singapore you don’t have all the strikes all the time and in France it is more difficult to work and to move, I think.

Which trip has had the most impact on you?

Where I was the most impressed is New York, all is big and crazy. It is a tough city and I love tough cities. In Asia it would be China and Japan.

Do you have any projects for the future?

In Asia, we will open soon in Vietnam and then in Mongolia. We try to find new places to open in Singapore too.

A last sentence for us?

Thank you So Chic, you are incredible!

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