When arriving in your room at Hôtel de la Porte Dorée, we want to make sure you will feel at home! And we have therefore decided to make it “homy” by setting up a little table with some welcome gifts: a nice bottled recycled water, tea and cookies. And these are not just random cookies, there are baked with love by a lovely women that we think you should meet!
Her name is Melanie and we have gone to her and asked her more! Check out the interview! (and more importantly, the pictures of her cakes!!)
How and when was Gateaux Mama born?
Gâteaux Mama was « born » in early 2011. I started baking when I was young but did not really get into baking until I lived in San Francisco. It started out as therapy – I was the Human Resources Director of a large convention hotel in San Francisco and at times, the job could be pretty intense. Baking was how I worked out my stress and sharing the desserts became a way to bond with the employees. I baked every week for a different department and by the time I left the hotel, I had the baking bug. After I left the hotel (and before moving to Paris), I sold my baked goods at my local coffee shop for about 6 months. My brownies got me a lot of free cable car rides from our conductors who were regulars at the café.
Moving to Paris changed the way that I baked. I became a better baker. My colleagues at the agency I worked at were my guinea pigs and they did not hesitate to give me their feedback. As a result, I finessed my recipes and adapted them more for French tastes. I also began to explore different flavor profiles and eventually started to try my hand at bread making.
Friends and colleagues who have tasted my baking told me that I should either go on “Le Meilleure Pâtissier” (or whatever the baking show here is called) or start my own business. After leaving my agency job mid-2014, I decided to take a leap of faith and here I am.
Could you explain exactly what Gateaux Mama does? I know this question seems a bit stupid. Ok it’s a cake story, but how does it work exactly?
I make American-style cakes for French tastes. I believe in keeping things simple, using fresh ingredients, experimenting with new flavor profiles, and making people happy with my cakes. My specialty is cakes but I do not discriminate. I will bake anything as long as it appeals to me.
I have recently started delving in the savory world but always with a tieback to baking, so think savory madeleines, biscotti, and quick breads.
Do you cook from home and then sell the cakes for specific orders such as birthdays, weddings, corporate stuff? Do you mostly work with private clients or with companies? Do you organize special events?
At the moment, since I am starting out, I do most of my baking at home. I will be moving to a professional kitchen in the next weeks as business starts to pick up again in the spring.
I have done cakes (and other types of baked goods) for birthdays, weddings, and corporate events.
I work with companies and private clients. Right now, I would say it’s about 50/50 between both types. I also work on special events every once in a while. I have catered private parties and I co-host a monthly event called Tea & Tipples in partnership with the Chamber (www.thechamberparis.com). It is usually held the last Saturday of each month and it is an afternoon of wonderful craft cocktails and nibbles made by yours truly.
What was your biggest challenge with creating this company?
The biggest challenge is working on my own (it’s also the best thing about creating this company). I am used to working in office environments where there is a lot of collaboration involved and also a lot of background noise. Now, I work mostly solo and with classic 70s & 80s music playing in the background. Most of the time it works but it does get lonely sometimes.
What is the bigger picture for Gateaux Mama? What would like it to become?
I want to be your weekend tradition. I want my cake to be your breakfast treat on a Sunday morning – whether you call me up to deliver it to you or eventually come to my tea shop/bakery. In a few years time, I would like to have a small shop where I can sell my goods and where people come to hang out to read, work, or just chat with me while eating a slice of my homemade cake.
If you would be interested in Melanie’s cakes for your private reception, your kid’s birthday, your own birthday, or any kind of celebration, please feel free to contact her!