PAUL is a family-owned French bakery-restaurant whose finest baking traditions and savoir-faire have been passed down over five generations.
The PAUL bakery brand is built on a 128-year heritage and legacy of passion for excellence, exemplified by time-honoured artistry, carefully selected fresh ingredients and refined presentation, polished off by the latest gastronomic trends.
The aroma of PAUL’s wide variety of artisan and elaborate breads, including the finest brioche, baguettes and specialty breads, already fills the air across Europe, Africa, Asia, America and the Middle East with over 670 outlets worldwide.
The origins of PAUL can be traced back to 1889 in the small town of Croix, in Northern France, where founders, Charlemagne Mayot and his wife owned a small, but busy bakery. Charlemagne passed his knowledge and passion on to his son Edmond-Charlemagne – who in time, together with his wife Victorine, took over managing the family business in 1908.
In turn, Edmond-Charlemagne and Victorine taught their child, Suzanne, the secrets of their trade. With the love of classic French food woven into her fabric, Suzanne married a baker, Julien Holder, and the pair bought a bakery from the Paul family, in nearby Lille in 1935. The Holders retained the bakery’s name, and PAUL as we now know it, was founded.
Francis, the son of Suzanne and Julien, shared his family’s deep affinity for artisanal baking and in 1953 began working in his parents’ well-known bakery. He inherited the business after his father’s death in 1958, and opened a second bakery in 1963.
Displaying a natural flair for commerce, Francis took the business from strength-to-strength. In 1985 he opened the first PAUL bakery outside of France in Barcelona, marking the beginning of the company’s global expansion. Today, the small family business founded in a tiny corner of Northern France is now represented in 36 countries around the globe – with South Africa becoming the latest addition to the family.
Chairman of PAUL International – Francis’ son, Maxime – continues to uphold his family’s legacy of celebrating the unique French art de vivre through the finest in innovative baking craftsmanship.
PAUL’s local flagship bakery-restaurant opens to the public on Thursday, 02 March followed by the grand opening on Sunday, 05 March 2017 in Melrose Arch (Shop 010I3, Corner The High Street & Crescent Drive, Melrose Arch), Johannesburg.
The 180-seater will combine a chic blend of a bakery-patisserie-café service, a full table service restaurant, and its signature display counter for on-the-go orders.
Its skilled artisan bakers will craft breads and pastries within customer view in the bespoke bakery and patisserie, while offering an extensive indulgent range of breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas and dinners.
Richard Blades, Master Baker that hosted the baking class, trained traditionally in hotel kitchens with The Savoy and The Connaught. From here he grew his skill base, culminating in positions as Head Chef and Executive Chef respectively with Atlantic Bar and Grill and Simpson’s in the Strand. During his sojourn at Simpson’s he made two television programmes with celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Clarissa Dickson-Wright.
In 2004, he took on the role of Head of Production for central, wholesale and retail parts of Paul UK Ltd. Since he join PAUL, Richard helped design and then commission the modern purpose-built bakery that continues to supply both the retail and wholesale parts of the business, while seeing its footprint grow exponentially year-on-year. Richard’s artisan craft and dedication continues to support the business with internal training and mentoring, bread courses attended by the general public and development of new ideas.