Accolade for art of baking bread

BY KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 19/04/2010
WORK RECOGNISED: Jean-Louis Macadre, owner of Bordeaux Bakery, has been awarded the Order of Agricultural Merit by the French Government.
ROSS GIBLIN/The Dominion Post
WORK RECOGNISED: Jean-Louis Macadre, owner of Bordeaux Bakery, has been awarded the Order of Agricultural Merit by the French Government.

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Every time you bite into a fresh ficelle or baguette, thank Jean-Louis Macadre.

The French baker, who brought a new form of bread to New Zealand in 1991, is being honoured by his home country for spreading the French love of food.

Tomorrow he will be made a Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit at the French embassy.

Now 54, Mr Macadre said he was surprised by the honour, which had been talked about for five years.

He has been rising at 2am to get his loaves in the oven since he was 14, and said it was a way of life. "I love my bread and cooking food."

He opened his Bordeaux Bakery in Wellington in 1992. It later shifted from Northland to Thorndon Quay, and now operates from there with three retail outlets in the city.

Wife Gail Donaldson said Mr Macadre had introduced Wellington – and therefore New Zealand – to a new form of bread. "He truly believes that every New Zealander would like to eat nice bread."

He was the first to make ficelle – a smaller baguette – in New Zealand, Ms Donaldson said.

"Within about two years every cafe and bakery was making them."

Her husband treated baking as an artform, she said. "The secret of good bread is in the baker's hands."

Baking was a family affair. Mr Macadre's son back in France was a patissier, his brother and nephew were bakers, and their own four children aged between three and 14 were a common sight at the Wellington bakery.

"They've slept in baskets under the oven."

France has orders of merit in four categories – maritime, agriculture, academic and arts.

The system was established after the French Revolution as a way of recognising achievement.

The Order of Agricultural Merit was created in 1883 for devotion to the cause of agriculture, including food and wine.

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