What did Éric Kayser bake for Cambodia?
When he opened his Phnom Penh branch, the baker and Phaidon author added a hot, local surprise to menu
Éric Kayser loves bread. The author of our forthcoming Larousse Book of Bread, comes from a long line of French bakers, and has popularised high-quality baked goods across the globe, through his Maison Kayser bakeries.
Yet he acknowledges that not everyone in the world shares his passion. As he told the Phnom Penh Post on the opening of his first bakery in the Cambodian capital recently, “half the world eats rice, and half the world eats bread.”
Nevertheless, more and more are going with the grain, as Western baking rises in popularity among East Asia’s middle classes. “We are in a country where the people eat rice,” said the baker upon opening the Phnom Penh branch, “but we come in with the bread and the people start eating more and more and more bread. It’s a style of the life now.”
So, what has Kayser cooked up to sweeten this switch over? A chocolate bread with local, kampot peppercorns. The spicy pepper is a beguiling, Cambodian addition to Kayser’s sweet confection, yet the baker acknowledges that, having also launched branches in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, that non-European buyers tend to visit his bakeries for a taste of France.
Indeed, Kayser hopes his bread will give rise to more than a local love of European produce. By sending his employees back to France to study baking, the baker believes that his Maisons could lead to a wider adoption of his baking practices across the globe.
“My philosophy is to give my arm to other people to have a good job,” he says. “We see some beautiful people in different countries who come to our place and start to learn how to bake. Now we can send those people around the world.” If you want to join them, you can pre-order the Larousse Book of Bread by Éric Kayser here.