The more dough rests, the better the bread: Master Baker Tepper
French chef gets philosophical over a tray or two of croissants
Hailing from the boulangerie’s spiritual home, Pecquencourt in France, chef and master baker Pascal Tepper is a familiar name in the UAE, though it was at his latest venue in Dubai where we caught up for a chat. Located at the Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, Pascal Tepper French Bakery is the newest addition to an ever growing network of modern dine-in cafes with roots in rural France.
Chef Pascal can call a long line of traditional bakers family. With the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France under his belt, he brings an unrivaled standard of craftmanship to his eponymous outlets that offer everything from hearty baguettes to a scrumptious selection of Viennoiserie, tasty pastries, signature teas, mouthwatering desserts and much more. Aside from the bread and cakes, during our visit we sat down for a stunning Croque Madame, so we can vouch for it! Open 24-hours a day, PTFB is an ideal destination for a quick combo café & croissant à la Parisienne on your way to work or a full dinner in the evening.
Do you believe people take breakfast seriously enough?
A balanced and good breakfast is the perfect way to kickstart one’s day. It brings vitamins, energy and good feelings to tackle all tasks ahead, which is what the body needs after a good night’s sleep. I would recommend taking time off to enjoy this important meal. Across the world, people’s taste and habits for this meal are quite varied with multiple options to satiate your hunger. Here the most successful breakfast options are the café & croissant, and the full Pascal Tepper Breakfast option with great French Viennoiseries, fresh juices, jam, egg specialties and a hot beverage of your choice.
Having had premises in Dubai for a number of years, what is the biggest change you have seen in the city’s culinary evolution?
The market has evolved towards more casual and unpretentious dining options. Also, we see a great focus on what truly matters with great quality ingredients being used. We have also noticed many new bread-making outlets opening in the region, and during lockdown, a lot of individuals have rediscovered the joys of bread making at home. We try to bring this taste of France to the UAE.
Why did you originally come to set up in the UAE?
It all started during my first live show at Gulf Food. I met a few people really interested in bringing the French baking tradition to the UAE to develop a franchise. Our first bakery opened in 2012 in the region and the rest is history. With our new flagship restaurant at Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, we now have our first licensed establishment allowing us to offer a wider variety of dining options for all our customers.
What is it about the French pastry technique which draws people in?
French pastries and bread making are truly rooted in the country’s traditions and habits where, like in my family, people have been making them for generations. The techniques evolve with time, however, the basics remain the same. In our profession you need patience to give enough time for the dough to come to life. We can’t rush the fabrication process: the more the dough rests, the better the bread.
Do you think people have become more discernible about coffee? Do you invest a lot of time into researching the beans you use?
Dubai is certainly a very knowledgeable market. Our customers are well travelled and are used to the best quality. We always make sure that we provide our guests with not only the best quality in ingredients but also techniques, whether they come in for a strong espresso cup or a smooth latte.
What would you recommend to those walking into your establishment for the first time?
Our bread and Viennoiseries are really something to try. Being a master baker, this is my specialty. For a quick but wholesome lunch, I’d also recommend our delicious selection of baguette sandwiches filled with your favourite ingredients. They’re always great. Whether you prefer a juicy steak or a vegetarian option, we have everything.