'Rolleston always supports new businesses': A taste of France comes to Selwyn

Ma Petite Bakery in Rolleston is operated by Frenchman Thomas Holleaux. Photo: Supplied
Ma Petite Bakery in Rolleston is operated by Frenchman Thomas Holleaux. Photo: Supplied
Bread and pastry lovers are in French heaven after Thomas Holleaux opened the doors of his new bakery in Rolleston.

In spite of the low-key opening at Ma Petite Bakery, the croissants and baguettes went viral on social media as soon as Holleaux opened the doors earlier this month, running out of stock within hours on the first Saturday.

“People had warned me that Rolleston always supports new businesses, but I never expected this,” Holleaux said.

He only slept a few hours so that he could double production for the Sunday, only to be swamped by an even larger crowd of patient, hungry customers.

Holleaux is a graduate of the famous Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts in Paris where he served a five-year apprenticeship to become a bread and pastry artisan, before working with chefs in the two-star Michelin restaurant La Bastide de Capelongue, in Luberon.

The coffee, bread and pastry are drawing the crowds to the new Ma Petite Bakery. Photo: Supplied
The coffee, bread and pastry are drawing the crowds to the new Ma Petite Bakery. Photo: Supplied
Holleaux’s appetite for baking and adventure eventually landed him in Wellington where he accepted an invitation to teach at a high-profile culinary academy.

“A friend approached me, and I loved New Zealand. After a few years of teaching, I realised that my real passion is creating my own artisan bread and pastries and feeding a community, so I decided to open a business,” Holleaux said.

The Frenchman fell in love with the South Island and identified the fast-growing Selwyn district with its multi-cultural population as a perfect market for his baking and opened Ma Petite Bakery on Tennyson St, Rolleston.

“I have been in New Zealand quite a few years now, so have discovered the delights of Kiwi baking and I hope to create a product range with classic French baking, as well as adding some French flair to local Kiwi classics,” Holleaux said.

Last week Holleaux was urgently recruiting another pastry chef from his old Wellington school to feed mouths in Selwyn.

The French artisan baker says he will soon increase the variety of breads and pastries to test local appetites.

“In the first week, all the products we created just flew off the shelves, so we may have to roll new products out much sooner than I had planned.”

“I have so many ideas, like creating a French version of carrot cake, which we don’t really have in France,” Holleaux said.

Holleaux sources all his ingredients in Canterbury and will be supplying cafes and restaurants across the district as soon as he can increase production.

One thing is for sure, anyone on a strict diet may want to give Ma Petite Bakery a wide berth, because Holleaux will be using plenty of butter in his baking.

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