The French Bastards: tackling tradition

The French Bastards: tackling tradition

The French Bastards are taking on tradition. Pictured is the shopfront of a The French Bastards store. It's grey, with wet pavement out the front. Inside it lit up and you can see two employees serving customers.

After noticing a gap between typical Parisian bakery offerings and the consumer needs, the team behind The French Bastards decided to address the issue. Their answer was curating a brand that would unite like-minded people – and go against the grain of the traditional bakery – by reappropriating the classics and injecting an element of foodporn into their offering.

It was in 2018 when French bakers Julien Abourmand, David Abehsera and Emmanuel (Manu) Gunther all made the same observation: in the majority of Parisian bakeries the client experience no longer met their expectations, both in terms of product range and customer experience. And so, the trio decided to address the problem.

With a focus on being more creative, more focused on the consumer experience and more respectful of the environment, the first The French Bastards bakery was opened in January 2019.

Located in the 11th arrondissement in the centre of Paris, The French Bastards bakery has a strong avant-garde boutique identity.


The French Bastards

The French Bards are tackling tradition in Paris.

Manu said through their architectural concept the trio aimed to redefine foodporn with a vision of refined and brutalist foodporn.

“That is to say, not just a shameless representation of gluttony but a celebration of the art of baking and pastry,” he said.

“The brutalist side refers to our new concept that combines the aesthetic and attractive presentation of food with elements of raw and functional simplicity like wood and concrete.

“This concept is, obviously, inspired by the bakeries and cafes we’ve discovered in Australia and the US.”


Some of the baked goods you can find at The French Bastards are lined up in the display case.

Some of the products The French Bastards produce.

As the name suggest, there are strong ties between The French Bastards and Australia.

Prior to opening French Bastards, executive chef Julian Abourmand set off to cook his way around the world, landing in cities like Tel-Aviv, Melbourne and Sydney.

It was while working in Sydney for renowned Australian chef Mike McEarney [now creative director of Carriageworks Farmers Market] that Julian received his nickname “French bastard”.

This nickname came from Julian’s ability to rapidly succeed at everything he undertook.

“Even if it was something new, he seems to do it brilliantly in no time at all,” Manu said.

It was while working in Australia that Julian began to find inspiration for his future project and. Once he returned to France his father reminded of the infamous nickname, and after joining forces with Manu and David work began on the first The French Bastards store.

Now, there are bakeries located in six different arrondissements around Paris – the 11th, 2nd, 17th,9th, and the 3rd – with each one carefully tailored to best meet their consumers – or the “bastards” as they’re fondly known as.

One of The French Bastards employees

“The most important thing for us is to make sure these are the best locations to meet our audience,” Manu said.

“These are gourmands who don’t want to waste their few moments of pleasure during the day. Due to their urban and active lives, they have no time to waste and they are demanding on the level of service expected.”

When it come to their product range the team, led by Julien, engages in consistent research and development. Inspiration is drawn rom bakeries and cafes in both Australia and the US, but more recently has also included East Asian countries.

However, Manu said, it’s important to note that despite the emergence of a new neo-baking scene in France, it is still highly dominated by traditional bakeries.

“A traditional bakery does not only mean old-fashioned in terms of its client relations and products offered, but also refers to the industrialised processes that are used for the bread,” he said.

“We are excited to show the world that the bakery experience can still surprise and extend beyond the traditional French methods we are used to, all while being innovative and keeping the same integrity and quality of our products.”

The French Bastards produce everything onsite. Pictured is a baker with a white shirt rolling out bread dough.

Plenty of care goes into each of The French Bastards products.

Items like a vanilla flan is regularly stocked alongside raspberry and poppy pavlova, babka, cruffins, eclairs, tartes and operas. However, many feature a unique twist on the traditional product.

Just like how the bakery’s name indicates a hint of irreverence and casualness combined with an attachment to French baking techniques, Manu said this spirit and originality carried over into the product range.

“It’s also an ode to ‘bastard bread’ – a bread shaped between a baguette and a boule,” Manu said.

“We just love the sassy French spirit hidden behind this brand.”

After taking Paris by storm, Julien, David and Manu have their sights set on a gradual expansion of the business.

This year will hopefully see The French Bastards expand outside of Paris, before targeting Europe in the future.

And although there are no plans to bring The French Bastards down under any time soon, Manu said it wasn’t off the cards.

“We cannot wait to expand but we want to do it right,” he said.

“We might be open to opportunities in Australia really soon.”

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