Le Bon Choix Bakery owner, Savico Basset-Rouge inspires his customers through high-quality Easter chocolate.
The Easter holiday and food go hand-in-hand. For Brisbane-based Le Bon Choix Bakery owner, Savico Basset-Rouge, the annual event also has a religious significance that motivates him to create product bringing the family together.
“When it comes to Easter, it’s a time to eat, it’s about celebrating. That’s what it’s all about. You have a celebration because of food and drink, and what do you do? It’s all about food. If you go to Europe or Africa, anywhere in the world, you go to a kid’s party, you eat some food. It’s a big important part of life,” he said.
“When it comes to food – people remember. You can have a meal and people remember what happens. It’s a memory.”
This year Basset-Rouge introduced colourful chocolate eggs and a strawberry white rabbit cake to his product range. With a glut of chocolate product on store shelves, he has aimed to offer something a little bit different.
“I reckon it’s cute when you look at it and it’s been sprayed, it’s not really shiny. It’s simple, but I like it,” he said.
“I have never done that before, especially the little rabbit cake, I think it is more interesting because it is a little bit different. Everybody has egg, chocolate, all the time.”
Mr Basset-Rouge said that Easter is not about trying to maximise profit but to make his business a part of customer’s daily life.
“We have three dozen customers who can’t make it (before closing) time, we are still there for them and they can still get a baguette. And guess what, those people are here on the weekend with all their family. It’s a family place, it’s amazing, you can see the same people. That is really, really good. That is how it is, you say hello everybody,” he said.
“And when it comes to Easter we are a bakery café, everybody is celebrating Easter, Mother’s Day, every business does it. If you go to a hairdresser, they will be celebrating Easter.”
With an eye for quality, Mr Basset-Rouge said his priority is always on the food first, with the profit and loss to follow afterwards.
“Chocolate is expensive. And when you do it once in a year, or a week in a year, you can’t make huge margin out of it. If it was a product that you can run consistently, all the time, of course you come to stock control to make it,” he said.
Mr Basset-Rouge said that in order to be the best, you have to lose in some way through the initial investment.
“This is not a game, you’ve got bills to pay. This is how it is. (But) I don’t think about the investment to start with. I don’t think of the profit of the product, I think about the taste and the quality and the image and all that for the product and after all that, the customer will pick the price themselves,” he said.
“It’s hard work, it’s a long process. To do it once is okay, to do it all the time, we have three of four pastry chefs that work on it.”
Admittedly traditional in his views, Mr Basset-Rouge said that culture and art are an integral part of food. This concept has been on public display recently through Network Ten’s Masterchef and Adriano Zumbo’s new SBS television show, Zumbo. Mr Basset-Rouge said that wild experimentation with macarons showed a lack of respect for macaron culture.
“To mix pig’s blood with macaron – I was very disappointed,” he said.
“Let me tell you one thing – when you go over 70 per cent chocolate, chocolate will over-power (the taste). It’s just for the sake of it. Adding a burger (to a macaron) – no you’re not, you’re adding 60 per cent chocolate. (Try) putting in a burger mix 100 per cent in the macaron and then tell me what it tastes like. There some things we don’t change in this industry,” he said.
“Pastry chefs should also hold respect for recipes such as the Opera cake, which should never be changed.
“You pay respect for those people. (Melbourne’s) Laurent Boillon did the first one in Australia about 20 years ago. Those people have been in the renaissance of the food industry in this country. They inspire people. This is my goal, to inspire people. If somebody doesn’t inspire you, what is the point?”
Mr Basset-Rouge believes that food can also be used to heal wounds and bring people together who have fought.
“You might have an argument with someone today, before you go you say, ‘Come over dinner tonight’. We shake hands and, just by saying that, you think twice about it. It is very powerful.”