President of Ladurée on the New Tbilisi Opening & the Best Parisian Macarons

Exclusive Interview

One of the most luxurious and historical French bakeries, Ladurée, entered the Georgian market and welcomed its first guests in February 2019 at 21a Abashidze Street in Tbilisi.

The history of Ladurée began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée from southwest France opened a bakery in Paris at 16 Rue Royale. Today, it is famous for its incredible assortment of pastries and delicious macarons.

The brand is present in the largest cities around the globe, including London, Milan and Tokyo.

The Ladurée team aims to recreate the Parisian air in every branch of the bakery wherever it is in the world. And now, Georgian customers are also being given an opportunity to taste a selection of unique seasonal classic flavors of macarons and other sweets, and to spend a pleasant time in an authentic, super fascinating French atmosphere.

David Holder, the President of Ladurée, traveled to Georgia to check on the Tbilisi branch of the famous brand. GEORGIA TODAY grabbed the chance to meet him for an interview.

Why did you decide to launch Ladurée on the Georgian market?

It was important for us to find the right people to launch Ladurée in Georgia. I had a chance to meet Anton, who is now my Georgian brother. It’s all about that. You find the right people that understand the culture of Ladurée, love Ladurée, understand French and who want to take this culture to his/her country. Anton wanted to have Ladurée in his country and we accepted his initiative because we understood what he was doing, and we were confident in him. Ladurée is like my baby, I really do care and I need to feel the authentic atmosphere of Ladurée, whether it is in Georgia or any other country. I need to make sure that all the branches of Ladurée are the same worldwide, creating a Parisian air and giving customers freedom to imagine. It is important that the ambassador of the brand understands our requirements in detail, including the décor, products and type of service. Anton did it. This is the way I started the adventure here.

Do you plan to offer the full assortment of your wonderful macarons to the Georgian customers?

You can feel like you are in Paris here: every flavor is presented at Ladurée Tbilisi.

Georgia is certainly eclectic in terms of cuisine. Are you going to present only classic macarons to Georgian clientele, or do you have any plans regarding launching a brand new, special flavor for them?

Well, this is an area we have been working on. What I want is for customers to get the best of Ladurée, including macarons, as well as other products, even including the club sandwich. If we think there is something that has to be more adapted to the country in terms of aromas or tastes, I am very open-minded and sure that some shifts can take place. It is even interesting to work with local partners and chefs to see what could be done, maybe to launch a partnership with someone who is well-known as a blogger or as a local chef and make a twist with Ladurée. This is something we did in Japan and some countries of the Middle East. With such an approach, you can discover the local culture through the Ladurée taste.

Are you going to share your macaron recipes with Georgian chefs?

I am a very secret man, so I cannot share my recipes with anyone. We bake all the pastry locally, but the macarons are made only in one place in the world and then exported to all the countries.

You have already said that Ladurée is your ‘baby’. Please expand more on the importance of the company for you.

When I started working at Ladurée and took the business on from the Ladurée family, there was only one shop. When I say it is my baby, I mean am very attached to my brand: everything that happens at Ladurée comes from my soul. I say this is the best pastry in Paris and the high quality is of paramount importance for me. Ladurée was the first tea house to create a macaron. Therefore, we are very proud of having the ‘DNA of Excellence’. I love Ladurée, and every new country is a new challenge.

Do you have any specific expectations from the Georgian clientele?

Well, I have to first discover them. Of course, I do expect them to enjoy and take pleasure in Ladurée products and from the time they spend here. We come here and do our best to please. I hope people will love it.

How did you start a business with one shop and make it global while maintaining your top position despite the competition?

I achieved success thanks to my dream team. I love travelling and could not just stay in Paris. And when you have a dream to become globally recognized and you want to expand your business, you certainly need to have a strong and devoted team, a team that shares your dreams. The only way to maintain the leading position is to create a team like an army.

In an interview, you mentioned that Ladurée has influenced fashion and that while filming ‘Marie Antoinette’, Sofia Coppola collaborated with Ladurée. Could you tell us more about that?

It was a nice experience. It is the beauty of life that sometimes it presents you wonderful opportunities. Sofia Coppola came to Ladurée and said she was preparing to make the film ‘Marie Antoinette’, which would be very French and she, as an American, needed the help of the French people. She also said she loved Ladurée, with its history, all the colors and flavors. And she asked us to become her partner. Sofia said: “I do not have enough legitimacy to make a film about Marie Antoinette. So, be my partner”. There is an inspiration from Ladurée throughout the entire film. All the sweets and pastry presented in the film were created at Ladurée. That was very important, because those people who now watch the film think of our brand.

What are your future plans?

I aspire to expand our company and make it even more popular around the globe. I also want to launch Ladurée on the markets of more Asian countries. In Paris, we see that there are a lot of customers from Asia who love sweets and especially macarons. However, we explore the markets and the requirements of the clientele in depth before presenting our brand. Of course, I wish to be very successful in the USA and Asia. In fact, every new country is an adventure and there truly are no limits.

By Ketevan Kvaratskheliya

18 February 2019 19:50