Under the Grill: Apollonia Poilâne

1.Tell us about your business and/or current role?

I am a baker and CEO of global French-inspired bakery Poilâne. My grandfather set up the bakery in Paris in 1932 and I am the third generation in charge. We have over 1,500 outlets worldwide offering all kinds of delicious sweet and savoury boulangerie. We bake various breads biscuits and ‘pâtisseries boulangères’, a French term to describe the pastries we bake in our wood-fired ovens.

  1. Most rewarding or favourite moment in your career so far?

Seeing my teams working late at night to bake bread or prepare orders with smiles on their faces brightens the end or beginning of my day every time.

  1. Can you tell us about any major projects that you’re working on right now?

We have worked on completing a collection of biscuits made from grains that match the flours we use for our breads and major grains of the world. They are a development that sprung from our original butter cookies, Punitions, that follow a family recipe typical to the Normandy region.

  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Food & Drink Industry at the moment?

Making sure that we feed the soils in which we grow our future crops. It’s so important to ensure that we are giving customers quality food from quality ingredients. I want to ensure customers shopping experience the same quality of Poilâne all over the world.

  1. What will be the most exciting opportunities and/or developments in the UK Food & Drink Industry in the next few years?

We are working with growers and millers in the UK that didn’t exist when my father started his bakery in 2000. The rise of quality purveyors shows a promise of sustainable sourcing that is extremely important to me.

  1. Finally, what’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

It sounds simple but bread and butter with my parents. Whenever we travelled, we more often than not took bread with us, or found some locally to share. These were moments that fed the body and mind and allowed us to connect over such a simple pleasure: bread.


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