What’s cooking?


In the end, it is all about cooking. Former CEO of Veuve Clicquot USA, and famous writer (“French Women Never Get Fat” ), Mireille Guiliano has it right. Successfully branding Veuve Clicquot in the US or tossing mixed vegetables in a casserole to create a delicious ratatouille, have much in common. It is about finding the right ingredients and blending them with the right spices. I have much admiration for two European “recipe’ makers here in the States: le Pain Quotidien from Belgium and L’Occitane from France.

A culinary comparison is not far fetched for Belgian bread maker Le Pain Quotidien.

The founder, chef Alain Coumont, certainly knows how to make good bread, wether it is a spelt loaf or small pains au chocolat.Chain Store Guide has just released its report of the top 50 fastest growing chain restaurant operators in the U.S. and Canada. Le Pain Quotidien scores 41 with a 150.0% growth over the last 5 years. Not bad. Now the brand recipe:

  • Reassuring: same look, same tables, same music, same menus
  • Organic oriented: Honey nectar looks like it has just been gathered by the bees
  • Serene and quiet (most of the time), a good antidote to New York’s constant hustle.

The price of the baguette is high, but that is no surprise.

The other recipe maker I admire is l’Occitane. Obviously I am not the only one.L’Occitane International, the cosmetics and skincare producer and retailer, has just raised $708 million on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Again the brand recipe includes:

  • Reassurance
  • Great packaging
  • and the passion of a man, this time Olivier Baussan who created the company in 1976 with the strong belief that plants from Provence had virtues that ought to be shared with the rest of the world.

In 1994 the company was bought by an Austrian businessman Reinold Geiger. And now l’Occitane has opened 150 stores across the US.

On April 27th,  Mireille Guiliano published her new book, “The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook”, a practical lifetsyle guide to living well with tips from now famous Tante Berthe.(www.mireilleguiliano.com). She appeared on today’s Today Show.

As we know Mireille’s new career as a lifestyle writer and adviser is booming. She has branded herself with the same success as she did for Veuve Clicquot.

Mireille believes that eating is a very important part of life. It should be done with care and love.

For Mireille, like for Alain Caumont or Olivier Baussan, it is just the intimate belief in an idea….. and a great talent for cooking…

A vos fourneaux!

see Mireille on today’s Today show:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/36797655/ns/today-today_food_and_wine/#36802945

Read more in French:

http://frenchmorning.com/ny/2010/04/27/une-grecque-pour-vendre-la-provence-aux-americains/http://www.france-amerique.com/articles/2008/05/20/la-multiplication-du-pain-quotidien.html

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