Harvard student heads quintessential Parisian bakery
PARIS – Apollonia, a Franco-American Harvard undergraduate, juggles the ordinary life of a 22-year-old student with a less ordinary activity: chief executive of renowned Parisian artisan bakery Poilane.
Fate propelled Apollonia Poilane to the helm of the family-run business in 2002 when her parents died in a helicopter accident, but she now seems to revel in her double life and a job she has been destined for since her childhood.
“I have a sweet tooth for my family’s business,” Poilane told Reuters in the bakery opened by her grandfather Pierre in 1932 in the chic Saint-Germain-des-Pres district.
“I was prepared for this job. Enough? I don’t know, but this is what I had always been planning to do in life and I had prepared myself accordingly for it,” she said, during a half-term visit to Paris.
Poilane has 150 employees, annual sales of 14 million euros ($17.89 million) and sends some of the 7,000 loaves it bakes daily by courier to tables as far away as Los Angeles or Tokyo.
When your clients are Robert de Niro, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise or Lauren Bacall, courier comes in handy. Restaurants and gourmet stores in New York, Montreal or Cape Town pay around 36 euros ($46) to get the golden-crust sourdough loaf.
The bread costs about 8 euros ($10) at a Poilane bakery in Paris.