Behind The Scenes At Gatineau

 In Indie Oxford Interviews, Inspiration

As we settle into lockdown 2.0, indies across the county are once again having to adapt and offer new ways for us to be able to continue to support them at this critical time of year. Many businesses take the majority of their turnover during November and December, so this new lockdown will have a detrimental impact on business across the board.

However, there is hope. While we’re all stuck at home, and not spending money in the same way, we’re seeking out the little treats and experiences that make a difference to the groundhog days, and finding ways to connect to our communities and locality in a different way.

One of the independent businesses that quickly adapted during the first lockdown, and has reaped the benefits, is Gatineau in Summertown. I caught up with the shops Marketing Manager, Debora to find out how they have weathered this storm. >>

Gatineau Shop Oxford

The key to their resilience, was setting up an online shop and delivery service overnight. This meant they could still serve their community and continue to trade through adapting how they provided goods to their customers. They also supported other indies too, by regularly checking in, and offering advice and learnings from their own lockdown journey.

Debora, believes that at the heart of this success is that Gatineau is a family business through and through. With very early mornings in the bakery and patisserie, the every member of the team feels part of the family, and as a result are all doubly vested in it’s success. This classic french bakery ethos, has meant the business has been able to grow organically and look forward to a bright future, whatever the pandemic throws at it.

Gatineau Oxford
Early morning baguette prep

The other key ingredient in Gatineau’s success is their unwavering quest to source the best quality ingredients. Alongside owner Herve’s keen attention to detail and the teams dedication to technique and skill, you can understand why their bread, cakes and chocolate have been a lockdown hit, offering us all something sweet and uplifting in the gloom of the pandemic.

Gatineau Oxford
Preparing lemon tarts

Each item is carefully crafted, whether that’s by the bakers at their Kidlington bakery, or the patisserie chefs at the Summertown shop. The bakers start their day at midnight on Friday to make all the Saturday orders, and 2 am during the week, with the patisserie chefs clocking in at 3 am. On the day before Christmas Eve the bakers start at 9 pm, to make sure all the Christmas Eve orders are ready to collect in time!

Gatineau Oxford
Croissant production

Despite the long hours and early starts, the team still find time to develop new items to celebrate the best seasonal produce. For autumn they developed a Tart Aux Figues. Sweet pastry, filled with almond cream, fresh figs and whipped ganache with white chocolate. Creating it, is a team effort with the bakers making the pastry and cream, and the patisserie chefs working their magic to make the decadent finished tart, complete with gold leaf no less. Developing a new item can take up to 2 weeks of perfecting.

Gatineau Oxford
Tart Aux Figues & a Canelé

So with Christmas just weeks away, the team are gearing up to make sure their best sellers; baguettes, croissants & mille-feuilles, are kept stocked up, alongside other popular bakes, cakes and chocolates, and seasonal treats.

Debora is optimistic about their future, and believes sustainability is key. Both by investing in their team, but also making sure their products and packaging are as environmentally friendly as possible. Their dream is to have the capacity to train up the next generation of bakers and patisserie chefs, so ensuring a legacy of traditional skills and knowledge being passed on, and we can all enjoy fluffy french baguettes and incredible patisserie for many years to come.

To see more mouthwatering cakes, and to order, check out the Gatineau online shop.

Gatineau Oxford
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  • Débora Brand

    Oh Wow Rosie! Thank you so much for such beautifully written blog post. And for the continued support of Indie Oxford to all independent businesses out there. ❤️ Keep on the great work and much success in the many years to come 🥳

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