The savoir-faire of French bread and pastry making

By on October 24, 2010
As more and more mums join the workforce today,  the less time they have to bake  bread for the family, making buying from the boulangerie,  the more practical option. However,  the quality, aroma and freshness of baguette or pastry coming straight from the oven still holds its quiet appeal.Bread-making may be a hobby to pursue for some. Some; not for the French.  Bread-making in France is as serious a cultural tradition as rice-growing is to Japan.  Craftsmanship  in old-fashioned bread-making is the mark of a successful boulangier and pattisier.

Think of baking as a grand symphony where timing, rhythm’ and balance play harmonies with your water, flour’ and yeast, and all the rest lies in the hands of a seasoned conductor.  Being a good conductor however starts by learning from experienced and authentic boulangiers and pattisiers in town.   Where do you go to study some serious French bread-making in Tokyo?  “There are countless amateur cooking schools in town for everyday home-cooking needs yet there is also the famous Cordon Bleu for those seriously after a professional career in French cuisine,” confides Yoshimi.  Rodolphe Landemaine and Yoshimi Ishikawa   realized that Tokyo is lacking in something in between so in September, they opened the Ecole Levain D’Antan, a cooking school for boulangiers and pattisiers near the Russian Embassy along the Ikurakatamachi crossing, to fill the gap.

Rodolphe Landemaine is a French pattisier/entrepreneur from Pays de Loire and his wife Yoshimi Ishikawa Landemaine is an entrepreneur and a native of Hiroshima.  Together, they have four children and are as engaged parents as they are to their newly opened family business,  l’Ecole Levain D’Antan,  their proud addition to three boulangerie/patisserie shops they operate in Paris.

About Rodolphe and Yoshimi
Rodolphe Landemaine earned his baccalaureat degree as a pattisier in Paris and is also a bonafide Compagnon.  The term “compagnon” has no equivalent in English but is attributed to someone who has served time learning and perfecting the craft as a member of a professional guild.  He started his career in Belgium in the ‘90s and has worked in Laduree Paris, Sonesta Traiteur, Raynier Marchetti, Lucas Carton (a three-star Michelin establishment), Patisserie Thevenin, Lafay in Lyon and the Douceurs et Plaisirs deTolbiac. Aside from being a master boulangier and patissier,  Rodolphe is also an entrepreneur and owns three shops called Maison Landemaine in Clichy, Maison Landemaine Martyrs and Maison Landemaine Voltaire, which opened last year in November.

A daughter of a politician, Rodolphe’s wife Yoshimi was born in Tokyo and  started her early years doing social activities geared for women.  Her love and passion for French bread and Paris started from the age of 30, which eventually got her involved in the boulangerie and patisserie domain.  Promoting closer ties between France and her own country is what keeps her busy from day to day.

The School
Accessible on foot from  Kamiyacho, Roppongi, and Azabu Juban stations, Ecole Levain D’Antan offers cooking lessons to kids from 3-12 years old, accompanied by an adult.  It is a kid-friendly school where parents can have their small children socialize with other kids or play with toys in a corner while parents study cooking lessons.  Children ages 3-12 can also join parents learn how to cook for a minimal fee of ¥700.  Japanese, French, and English interpretation are available for the convenience of language instruction preference.

It has a neat terrace where learners can enjoy a nice conversation with the instructors and students over a cup of freshly brewed French coffee with the baked goods.

Check their website for upcoming cooking lesson schedule and terms.
Tel: (03) 3568-4810

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