Hello there, honey
Since opening their first discreet outlet in Umalas in 2012 – where the local French community was banging down the door demanding their signature freshly baked warm, buttery croissants, Monsieur Spoon’s three Bali stores now bake around 650 croissants a day. They also supply their scrumptious fare to some of the best cafes across the island.
We went behind the scenes with co-founder and director Greg Guerguerian and his cousin, co-founder and executive chef, Rafi Papazian.
How did your partnership come about?
Greg: We are second cousins and our families lived close to each other in Paris. We knew each other but we got really close when we were around 24 or 25. We rediscovered each other and found we were a great match. I was always passionate about pastries, boulangeries and bakeries and Rafi’s skills were improving. We shared an attraction to Asia.
Paris’s loss is our gain. Why Bali?
Rafi: I went travelling around Asia to Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and Korea. I had been to Bali before and saw a picture and I thought it looked amazing, so after travelling around Asia, I took my 90kg of luggage, full of pastry tools and settled here and I realized this is what I was looking for. Bali is a paradise; I am so inspired by its people, its beauty and spirituality.
Rafi, what training have you undertaken to enable you to create such incredibly delicious pastries, cakes and breads?
I was originally self-taught but then went to some of the best schools in France, including at the Ritz Escoffier Paris, and trained with world champion pastry identities such as Olivier Bajard. It really inspired my understanding of baking.
Do you try and use local ingredients?
Rafi: More and more! I am into the idea of mixing Bali and France. The next gourmet sandwiches will have sambals and satay along with local vegetables and fruits. I have recently become deeply interested in Indonesian cuisine and next year I will introduce a special new flavor: Croissant “Pedas”, and a sandwich with satay chicken with home made dry tomato and local eggplants. Today we did whole-wheat organic croissants and I want to do a croissant with black rice flour. Something totally different.
You have opened 3 bakeries in a very short period of time! Do you plan to expand further?
Rafi: Yes, it’s been quite a year. We have opened a kitchen and 3 shops in 15 months, and hired a new partner who will develop 5 more shops this coming year in Bali, and I will take care of the franchising development in Jakarta.
We see your products all over town! What cafes and restaurants do you supply to?
Greg: Some of our customers include Revolver, Drop Café, Café Seminyak, Deus, Bungalow in Berawa, Watercress on Batu Belig and they sell our bagels at Butter.
Do you have an item that you would recommend to any new customers? And what is your favourite treat?
Rafi: Our signature item is definitely the flaky croissants; the almond chocolatine is also a signature item for sure as well as our organic rye bread, and our lemon tart.
Greg: My favourite is the pistachio macaroon and Rafi likes the coffee éclair with a coffee on the side.
Can you describe your typical day?
Rafi: For more than one year, I was working day and night. I taught more than 35 staff 4 different professions: viennoiseries, bread, pastries and sandwiches. When I was teaching the bread team, I was there at 10pm until 5am and then 7am again for the pastry or croissant round until 3pm and then office work if there were no specific orders or weddings! Now my typical days are more relaxed, I sometimes get to sleep at home.
Gentlemen, thank you for bringing a touch of sophisticated Paris to Bali and best of luck with all your new ventures. May your croissants continue to reign supreme!
All images taken by Radhika Rao. After 15 years of running a successful photography business in Hong Kong, Radhika now calls Bali home. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org