All of France, or almost, knows Frédéric Roy’s head, often covered with a kitchen cap. And she was silhouetted in a white blouse, leaning over warm croissants.
But all of France – or almost in Nice – also knows about the frenzy of the baker on the Rue de France. His defense of craftsmanship fights for “homemade” breads and pastries, “made on the ground” without industrial or frozen products.
And more recently, for the survival of artisan bakers who are being stifled by rising energy prices. In five years, Frédéric Roy has become indispensable in the media. By winning favor with some politicians, he also cut a lot of teeth.
Take a look at the unstoppable rise of this baker who leads the battle with a stick.
1. It all starts with the bread brought by the old car
In 2015, Frédéric Roy is not yet the media beast he has gradually become. But he is already known in the neighborhood for his bakery Le Capitole at 78 Rue de France. Because of the quality of their products. And he delivered her bread in an old car.
After being robbed and assaulted in 2016, Manuel Valls wrote a letter and explained his approach. Frédéric Roy, knight baker, is born.
2. In the 2017 presidential race
A few months before the 2017 presidential election, a baker decides to interview the candidates. Multiply the letters between two sets of bread. More than 200, he discovered then.
In all his letters, he mentions the gravity of his situation as an artisan baker. His salary is 4 euros per hour. Its extended hours. Unfair competition from some industrial bakeries that are open 7 days a week when not allowed.
With one exception, the answer is no. “The only person who deserves to answer me personally and even meet me here in my bakery is Jerome Chartier, special adviser to Francois Fillon.”On February 9, Frédéric Roy was celebrated at the end of the trip.
On April 14, Socialist Aurelie Filippetti, MP for Moselle, also visited him. A baker in Nice resonates with right-wing parties. Éric Ciotti, who is now the boss of LR, will be his spokesman in many cases.
3. Industrial Crescent Killer
A new struggle for the artisan from Nice: in October 2017, he wrote to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe asking for the creation of a traditional label for croissants and bitters and chocolates.
Home manufacturing is dying, he says. “More than 80% of croissants are made industrially. The natural croissant and the pain au chocolat are under threat. My 2 year old grandson doesn’t know the natural croissant. Today we shouldn’t eat anymore shit”believes
This drew the ire of the networks and the National Confederation of French Bakers, who responded with a press release: “Let’s not let one baker damage the image and reputation of 33,000 others. It’s a lie to say that 80% of bakeries sell frozen croissants. (…) Let’s not forget that a scandal, if there’s an easy way to show it, discredits an entire profession.”
4. Freaks after speeches
The baker is kneading his glory. In July 2018, he set up a map of France for artisanal breads. In May 2019, he took part in the Chocolate World Cup – he prefers to say “chocolate bread”.
In August 2020, she made a name for herself with a lavender croissant. Cycling from Liège in March 2021 to taste Belgian pastries.
February 2022: Elysee candidate Valérie Pécresse pushes open the door of her bakery with Eric Ciotti.
5. The first to warn about the devastating consequences of energy costs
November 2022: A new battle for Roy des croissants. He is the first to ring the alarm bell with the electricity money in his hand. Hit by four! “It’s the first time I’m afraid. We don’t understand the seriousness of the situation. It’s a time bomb,” he said.
At the start, little echo except for extreme right and hard right. But the roar covers the whole area. Bakers’ patterns are exploding, overwhelmed by energy costs. Bakeries are forced to close.
Frédéric Roy and two colleagues – here with Pascal Wozniak of Lembeye – have formed a collective for the survival of bread and craft. On January 23, they will be in Paris to demonstrate.