The French Bakery, a humanitarian bakery-patisserie in Chennai, India
Set up in India, the bakery-patisserie created by Frenchman Alexis de Ducla has become an institution in a few short years. The recipe for his success: the art of combining the commercial side with a humanitarian vocation in order to help the poorest youngsters to obtain a real job.
A graduate of the prestigious French business school ESSEC, Alexis de Ducla decided in 2006 to create a bakery-patisserie in Chennai, India, which was also a training centre designed to give opportunities to the poorest children, and notably untouchables. The aim: “to try to find a business model that was economically viable and profitable, which put humanity at the heart of the business”, he told the online newspaper The Hindu.
To do that, he has set-up a simple business model: all products sold in the bakery are developed by students in training, and profits gained from these products are used to finance the training school operations.
For two years, a dozen youngsters between 17 and 21 undertake training which combines patisserie classes, English and maths, but also general knowledge. It’s designed to help them obtain real know-how but also the groundwork which will help them find a job and opportunity in the domain of top-end catering.
As he explains on news site Aujourd’hui Le Monde, Alexis de Ducla wishes, through this simple initiative, to show that business and humanitarianism are not antithetical. Although his school is not the first of its kind, it remains an archetypal example of this desire.
The French Bakery enables the promotion of French bakeries abroad, while taking part, in its own way, in the social development of India.
8/57, Venilla Palace, 1st Street Luz Avenue, Mylapore, Chennai, 600004