Since his store opened in late 2017, the baker-pastry chef has been flourishing in Castelnau le Lez, already with 25 employees and a new project for expansion.
The art of handing down his knowledgeJacques Cenatiempo works hard, with long days flowing into each other, but he also shares his valuable time with young people, training them in his trade.
“I wake up at 3 AM, work until 7 AM, and go to the Hérault Chamber of Trades in Pierresvives (in the northern part of Montpellier) two or three days a week to teach vocational training courses until 5:30 PM. It is very important to pass on your knowledge,” he says.
The artisan never misses TV classics such as France’s Best Bakery (La meilleure boulangerie de France) and Top Chef. He was recently a member of the jury for the Création et Saveurs competition in Paris, which brought him into contact with great names in the business, such as Michel Roth.
“Creative, humble, and even-tempered,” Jacques Cenatiempo never tires of learning and moving forward. “I like to read about the world’s greatest pastry chefs. Interacting with other professionals is also essential,” he adds.
An active member of the Toques Blanches Internationales association and a member of the French Bakery Union, Jacques Cenatiempo still makes sure that he always pays attention to his staff despite his busy schedule.
“I treat my employees as colleagues. That is our strength,” he says.
Verrines and cake varietiesThe shop revisits its cakes and pastries frequently.
Every weekend, his team works in the laboratory to create ““verrines to share, served in ice cream cups, and mille-feuilles with different flavors every time.” The bakery-pastry shop is open seven days a week, offering a variety of delicacies throughout the day: a brasserie at lunchtime from Monday to Friday, and a very popular tea room on Sundays.
“Customers appreciate the change because they always discover something new,” he adds with a smile.
Expansion aheadFour years after opening, the shop is expanding its laboratory space, which was becoming too small, by taking on an additional 200 m². Expansion involves an investment of 450 K€ on top of the initial investment of 1 M€.
This father of two was proactive during the health crisis: he set up an online store using Click & Collect to continue satisfying his customers. He also decided to be present on social networks. In addition, Jacques Cenatiempo knew he could count on support from the city of Montpellier and Montpellier Métropole.
“Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole gives us regular work, for example to deliver sweet snacks to the Mo.Co art center or Maison de Heidelberg international center. The cities of Montpellier and Castelnau le Lez are among our biggest customers,” he says.