The Goûté Way
JULY 26, 2021
Interview and photo documentation of Alice's home bakery in San Francisco
Most of my childhood, I spent in a small village close to Paris called Lésigny. Our house was close to downtown so we could walk to the shops and the boulangerie easily. My sister and I came home from school every day for lunch and afterwards, around 4:30pm, we’d pass by the boulangerie to pick up a tarte au citron, un éclair au chocolat or the classic, 100 grammes de chouquettes for our “goûter” [pronounced goo-tay aka snack time]. We would alternate so some days my mom would bake some cookies or crêpes, paired with a little jus d’orange for the goûter directly at home. Normally my mom would set the table outside every afternoon, giving us a really tender opportunity to pause, to chat and catch up, just the three of us before we went about doing homework or her preparing dinner.
San Francisco already has amazing bakeries so with Goûté my goal is twofold. I not only wanted to share my favorite sweets with my community but more so I really wanted to introduce the culture of the “goûter” to California and invite San Franciscans to adopt it into their daily routine.
This moment in the day is supposed to be a cozy moment of afternoon joy, it's easy and simple, no need to overthink it! Chouquettes are the perfect example, an empty cream puff with pearl sugar, is the quintessential choice.
Goûté is as much about bringing French treats to the US as it is bringing the Goûté way of life to San Francisco. It’s a convivial moment where you unwind with your coworkers or the perfect excuse to catch up with your girlfriends on the weekend. It’s literally a standalone meal in France, basically a French institution, and I want to share that with people here.
San Francisco has become my second, adopted home. The main thing that draws me to San Francisco year after year is the balance between city life and the nearby nature.
For me, living abroad is a lifestyle that really works. To this day, I feel like life is less stressful in California than life would be for me in France. California makes me feel more like me.
When I arrived I was just discovering myself as a young adult and so the Bay Area has really been the backdrop for that growing up. All the people I met from day one have really shaped me into the person I am today. It’s quite difficult to articulate but the families I au paired for, my early coworkers and all the adventures I shared with this growing community have helped me become a better version of myself.
Doing this on my own has taught me how to be resilient and how to trust myself.
I actually started baking French classics for selfish reasons really. During the pandemic, we had ALL this time at home. I started buying a bunch of French patisserie books to pass the time and give myself new, exciting challenges while we sheltered in place. All of that blossomed into what Goûté has become today.
My covid cocoon tried all of my baked goods, but I actually got the biggest nudge I needed from my boyfriend. Before Goûté was even born, he started telling people that I was going to open a bakery and when everyone kept asking when they could place their orders, I just told myself one day that I needed to actually launch the project! I got started with only a couple of cakes that I knew were good and since then it has been the domino effect. The more success I experienced, I just wanted to keep growing it and bringing more of that delicious Goûté lifestyle to San Francisco. Now it’s just become part of my everyday life.
When I started Goûté, my customers were mostly people I knew: friends, family, or friends of friends. Everyone has been so supportive, I’ve even re-connected with old friends and that has been super meaningful. Now that my customer base and the Goûté community has expanded, I thoroughly enjoy meeting new SF locals!
I work in marketing so every part of the Goûté experience from the order through to the pick-up is really important to me, not just the baked goods themselves.
Knowing that people are enjoying good times and that my baked goods are at the center of it, well that’s the most meaningful thing. That people are sharing a moment in their lives, eating something I made, that’s super impactful to me.
Baking has taught me patience, precision and dedication. Normally, I am none of these things!
Baking has really helped me learn how to take my time and enjoy the journey, not just the end result.
Even if I try to rush the smallest thing like shortening the cooling time, the recipe will fail and I will be unsatisfied with the end result.
Growing up, I didn’t understand all the time and energy my mom put into preparing the goûter for us or all other meals for that matter. On Sundays, she would craft the menus for the entire week and do all the shopping and preparation for really healthy, varied meals. Sometimes, she would get mad at herself when she ran out of ideas but now I really understand why she cared so much because that was her way of taking care of us. Now I know just how much work goes into it. Baking is definitely both of our love languages.
Goûté is the avenue through which I communicate how I feel.
I really do put my whole heart into each step of the process.
Sometimes life moves so fast so incorporating a Goûté time, a sacred moment of pause, is a great little reminder to slow down and savor something sweet.