Meeting with Norbert, still looking for La Meilleur Boulangerie de France

It’s a trap show because The Best Bakery in France, whose tenth season begins this Monday, is broadcast just before the meal. And it is clear that it makes you hungry. Very hungry. Very, very hungry. It has been several years since Norbert Tarayre, former candidate of Top chef and renowned cook and Bruno Cormerais, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, crisscross France and its Regions in search of the “best bakery in France”. A convenience store par excellence, the bakery has developed considerably over time. In addition to bread – the baguette has just become a UNESCO World Heritage Site –, pastries, sandwiches and snacks will be part of your business offer in 2023. Welcome to an epic at the heart of gluttony with a one-of-a-kind guide: Norbert.

The show is celebrating its tenth birthday, what is your view of its evolution?

When I left Top chefI wanted to do television for ten years, here we are, it happened so quickly… I’ve been in this program for seven seasons. The Best Bakery in France and, this year, we made changes because my life has changed. I make some space because I wanted to spend a little more time with my children, which is why we welcome Noëmie Honiat, an exceptional pastry chef, finalist of Top chef in 2014, which will bring us sweetness. And then, bakers are often pastry chefs, it seemed obvious to have an expert in this field to support us with Bruno.

There is also a new test: Norbert’s challenge.

Yes, I will meet the producers of the region concerned to see how the products are worked and then follow them in their use in the bakery. It’s like a postcard. I wanted to go for a walk, play the troublemaker, meet different people, go see local producers and artisans. Basically, the competition is a pretext, we are mainly here to talk about our regions.

The baguette has just entered the UNESCO World Heritage List, what does that inspire you?

We saw during confinement that bread is a basic necessity and accessible to all. The French baguette is linked to history, religion and we realize that each region has its own way of making its bread. It is a culinary heritage that must be protected.

The baker doesn’t just bake bread these days. Is it a restaurateur?

A bakery is a restaurant, clearly. You have salads, soup, sandwiches, hot dishes, desserts. The pike quenelle was born in a Lyon bakery at first, but the baker is humble, shy, he never dared to put himself forward. It is a mystical profession that must be brought to light. A baker is a pure craftsman, he does it with love.

It’s a show that makes you want to taste… How do you manage it?

We usually arrive in the morning in the bakery that we film, everything is in place, it smells good. With the production, we decided to taste only one product but often the baker offers us his specialty, a particular bread, a buffet, a pastry, we systematically receive an exceptional welcome and we enjoy (laughs).

Your biggest culinary discovery on the show?

There are so many… but the coffee baguette left me on my ass. I also remember a Cap Ferret flan that we had watched baking in the oven like kids, but also a fennel tart or gingerbread. We tasted absolutely divine things in ten seasons.

The Best Bakery in FranceMonday to Friday, from 6:35 p.m., on M6.

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Meeting with Norbert, still looking for La Meilleur Boulangerie de France

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