At Chez Arnaud, owner Arnaud de Rambures is ready to put opening day behind him. The Maple Grove bakery sold out of pastries in less than an hour when it opened November 19.
"It was awful," says de Rambures. "There was a line outside. I was not prepared for so many people."[jump]
It took de Rambures a few weeks to gauge how many pastries to make each day. To better meet demand, de Rambures, who studied marketing and financial management at university, has since expanded his kitchen staff from three to seven people.
"Until December, it was really hard to get food display until the end of the day," de Rambures says. Further complicating matters is his insistence on high-quality ingredients, which keep his costs high. "We are very close with our income and expenses."
De Rambures moved to the Twin Cities from Paris to start the bakery with his great-uncle. He chose Maple Grove as his location, he says, because there was no other French bakery or restaurant serving northern Minneapolis. Armed with culinary training from France's National Institute of Baking and Pastry, de Rambures hopes to provide the Twin Cities with simple, good French food--pastries and breads, quiches, pizzas, and sandwiches--made with the best ingredients. That philosophy resonates with the ideas of local foods supporters, but de Rambures has not yet tested many local ingredients, besides flour, which he sources from North Dakota Mill.
"Not yet," says de Rambures. "I have so much trouble to get my team adapted, get set up in the kitchen. Since I've been here I haven't had time to do anything, just home and the bakery. I have absolutely no social life at all."
When he gets a free moment to dine out, de Rambures says he looks for simple meals with small portions, like those he enjoys in France. He also has a taste for Indian food, because his family lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where Indian cuisine is popular.
CHEZ ARNAUD 13332 Bass Lake Rd., Maple Grove 763.568.7756; website