Ma Cherie founder Guillaume Nicoli has been bringing the best culinary creations from Paris to Auckland for ten years.
There is so much to admire in Ma Cherie’s kitchen. So much! Firstly, we can’t take our eyes off the triangles of the finest French pastry that are being cut and expertly hand rolled into croissants. Layer upon layer of buttery deliciousness made using traditional recipes from chef, General Manager and co-founder Guillaume Nicoli.
Then there is the team of Ma Cherie pastry chefs pouring glossy icing over the most decadent of gateaux – think almond sponge cake layered with passion fruit jelly and dark chocolate mousse, and then covered in even more luscious dark chocolate. Mon dieu!
We also spy crisp almond tuiles being selected and packaged for Farro stores. The saying goes that the devil is in the detail, and at the Ma Cherie kitchen, that sort of detail is utterly exquisite. The wholesale bakery supplies Farro with gateaux, eclairs and tarts, as well as a range of frozen pastries and savoury quiches that are ready for baking at home.
All this from a Frenchman who came to Auckland some 14 years ago, from Cannes, when a friend phoned and encouraged him to move down under. After years working in Michelin-starred restaurants in France, Guillaume felt he needed a break and took a punt on New Zealand.
Four years after arriving in Auckland with just two suitcases in his hands, Guillaume met and married his Japanese graphic designer wife Hiroe, with whom he now has two young children, and together they set up Ma Cherie, juggling day jobs to keep the money coming in and baking through the night.
“Some nights Hiroe and I would sit down together for our dinner at 1am! Our big break came when Farro took us on,” says Guillaume, and the rest, they say, is history! From there he introduced Farro customers to authentic, hand-made French pastries, garnering such a reputation along the way that he was invited onto the second season of Masterchef NZ.
“I was always interested in food, and when I was a teenager, I wanted to leave school and get some work experience. My parents initially said no, and then they relented on the condition that I seek an apprenticeship with one of the best pastry chefs around. And that’s exactly what I did.”
Testament to the success of Ma Cherie’s products, Rocket Corporation (of which Rocket Kitchen is a sister brand) acquired a majority shareholding in Ma Cherie in 2018, allowing Guillaume the chance to put family first, decrease his hours and grow the business.
“Being able to hand over the day-to-day running of the bakery to the talented Ma Cherie team, allows me the time to dream up some new products for busy people, that they can bake and enjoy at home,” says Guillaume. We will be first in line when he’s ready to reveal his new creations!