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All About Food: Find golden bread and more at Pandor

July 17, 2012|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
(DON LEACH )

Tiffany and Raffi Sepetjian are serious foodies who love to travel, particularly to France where they have family.

Even though Raffi has a large independent cigar business in California and Tiffany owned a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise, their true passion revolved around a dream to open an authentic French boulangerie, similar to the ones they had often enjoyed on the streets of Paris.

That vision became a plan five years ago. They named it Pandor, an abbreviation of the French words "pain d'or," meaning golden bread.

As we sat at a table in the spanking new café, nibbling on goodies, the delightful and effusive Tiffany told us how their dream came to fruition.

First, they had to find a baker and were lucky enough to meet Julien Pietravalle in France, a young French master baker from Ste. Maxime in Provence, where he owns his own bakery. He also taught at France's National Baking Institute.

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They formed a partnership and he came here to assist them with setting up production. This included getting all their equipment from France including deck ovens with stone floors. This produces a slow baked artisanal product that must be made in small quantities.

Last September, they opened RTR, a wholesale baking company, which supplies breads to an impressive list of Orange County's finest restaurants including: the Montage, the Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, Pascal's Brasseries and Andrei's.

In June, their dream of opening an authentic French boulangerie and café became a reality. Two more chefs had come on board, so while Chef Julien oversees the bread making, French chef Serge Bertrand has created an array of fabulous pastries.

French-born Chef Eric Cunin, who now lives in Los Angeles, is developing the café menu with salads and interesting sandwiches and paninis. (He was once the private chef to a Saudi princess in Beverly Hills.)

All three have scrupulously trained the staff to execute their recipes. The plan is for them to return four times a year to make sure quality is maintained and to keep the menu fresh. In the meantime they all Skype from places afar.

Tiffany's goal is to re-create the authentic breads and pastries of France. When you walk into a boulangerie in Paris, you are first confronted by a vast array of beautiful breads; so, too, at Pandor.

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