Bakery Le Matin — part deux

[attach]5382[/attach]Jean-Pierre Challet’s work schedule is causing the chef to seek some afternoon shut-eye.

Challet divides his time working evenings at Ici Bistro, his west-end restaurant where he prepares catered dinners and events with Jennifer Decorte, and working the morning shift at Le Matin, a wholesale bakery on Queen Street East near Coxwell Avenue.

“I have to take a nap in the afternoon sometimes,” he says. “I try to.”

Although he’s already been running his wholesale bakery business since November 2010, this past December he partnered with Arnaud Presti to open a French bakery two kilometers from Le Matin — also named Le Matin.

“We were supplying restaurants, coffee shops and hotels with bread, croissants, scones, then we started at the market across the road last summer and it was a big success back then,” he says. “We really had a high demand on the baguette, on the bread and all those things so that’s why we decided a couple of months ago to take a retail space.”

Their space on Coady Avenue just north of Queen Street East, he says, was almost like destiny because the spot came up at the right time and fit their needs perfectly. In addition to bread, croissants, baguettes, brioches and tarts, the bakery also offers a selection of quiches and will slowly expand to include more goods such as their own chocolates and ice creams as he continues to develop his line.

Despite years of experience, he says baking requires continuous adaptation because the changing weather constantly affects the baking process.

“Every day it’s different because of the temperature, because when it’s cold outside, when it’s humid,” he says. “The weather changes everything in the bread.”

Challet, a sommelier who trained in France before immigrating to Canada where he most recently trained as a chocolatier, says he’s baked bread at every chef job he’s held. He continued to develop and adjust his recipes slowly until he finally perfected his product roughly two years ago.

Before opening the wholesale business he says he supplied only one bakeshop in 2009 and handmade roughly 50,000 croissants that year.

“Somebody asked me, ‘What do you prefer, baking or cooking?’ I love everything in the whole food industry, but when it’s baking I like to see the bread pushing and rising,” he says.

“For me it’s magic.”