Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien (French pronunciation: luh paN koh-ti-dyaN, The Daily Bread)  is a restaurant group founded in Brussels in 1990 by Alain Coumont. It is now an international chain operating in many countries around the globe. It sells organic bread and cakes in a homey, rustic style.
Founder Alain Coumont opened Le Pain Quotidien on 26 October 1990 at 16 rue Danseart in Brussels, Belgium. As a young chef, Alain was dissatisfied with the quality of bread available in Brussels, so he began making his own, mixing flour, water and salt into the familiar loaves of his childhood. He furnished the store with cabinets scoured from antique stores and a large table purchased at a local flea market: the first Le Pain Quotidien’s many communal tables. Gradually, items were added to them menu to complement the bread, including pastries, salads, beverages, tartines (traditional, open-faced sandwiches) and specialty retail products.
Coumont is the son and grandson of grocers. His grandmother ran a hotel in front of the train station in Huy, Belgium. As a child in Belgium, Coumont spent countless hours perched on a chair, watching his grandmother make bread. Then, in 1977, after a voyage to the United States, where he was impressed by the success of Michel Guérard, he abandoned his classical studies and enrolled in the Hotel School of Namur in Belgium. After graduating, Coumont worked in a number of highly regarded restaurants including Michel Guérard (Eugenie Les Bains, France), Georges Blanc (Vonnas, France) and Joel Robuchon (Paris, France).
As a young chef in Brussels, Coumont could not find the right bread for his restaurant. Passionate about quality, he returned to his roots and opened a small bakery where he could knead flour, salt and water into the rustic loaves of his childhood. Coumont opened his bakery in rue Antoine Dansaert in Brussels in 1990, in those days an avant-garde quarter of Belgian fashion. He named his bakery “Le Pain Quotidien.” Brussels quickly took to the taste of this traditional bread. Alain evolved his offering to include simple salads and tartines, keeping bread the cornerstone of the menu. At a local flea market, Coumont found a long table where his guests could sit to eat together; it became Le Pain Quotidien’s first communal table.
Success was rapid and Coumont had numerous candidates who wanted to open other Le Pain Quotidien outlets. In the space of a few months, 10 locations opened in Brussels. Coumont then followed his dream to open restaurants in the United States. In 1997, Coumont opened his first store on 1131 Madison Avenue in New York City, which was an instant success. Shortly thereafter, he met a group of Belgian investors who backed his U.S. expansion plans. With this financial support, he opened several locations in New York City and later in Los Angeles.
Coumont currently serves as the Company’s Chief Creative Officer. In this role, he remains the driving force behind the brand’s dedication to organic ingredients. Coumont spends most of this time traveling to support the concept throughout the world. Coumont is also the co-founder of BioGhetto.com,and parteneering wıth natural wıne maker Philippe Formentin. The company produces a line of Natural organic wınes with no added sulfites. Alain Coumont share his time between New York City and his farm/organic food research and training center in the Languedoc region in the south of France
Le Pain Quotidien Alain Coumont is the author of two cookbooks. Communal Table and Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook feature LPQ-inspired recipes which are developed by Chef Coumont.
The menu at Le Pain Quotidien maintains its principal food items against the backdrop of calorie-count requirements by New York City.
Le Pain Quotidien currently operates more than 200 bakery-café locations worldwide in 17 countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, India, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Argentina, Japan, and the United States (with a strong presence in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington DC). The first location in the US opened in 1997 in Manhattan.
In the media
Le Pain Quotidien was featured on the 21 July 2011 episode of the Freakonomics podcast, where host Stephen J. Dubner discussed an incident where a customer found a dead mouse in her salad at one of their New York City locations. This incident was re-visited on the 27 February 2012 episode, including an interview with Le Pain Quotidien CEO Vincent Herbert.
In 2012, Le Pain Quotidien received a complaint against them, claiming assistant managers were cheated out of overtime wages. This complaint is currently pending in the Los Angeles Superior Courts.
- "Facebook Page - Le Pain Quotidien". Facebook. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Jacobs, Emma (8 February 2011). "Baker who turned tables". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Hettie Judah (6 June 2008), "Le Pain Quotidien, a bakery chain that keeps a local feel", New York Times
- "Le Pain Quotidien U.S. Fact Sheet" (PDF). Le Pain Quotidien. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- Coumont, Alain and Jean-Pierre Gabriel (2009). Alain Coumont’s Communal Table: Memories and Recipes. Brussels, Belgium: Editions Françoise Blouard. P 90-96.
- Coumont, Alain and Jean-Pierre Gabriel (2009). Alain Coumont’s Communal Table: Memories and Recipes. Brussels, Belgium: Editions Françoise Blouard. P 112-113.
- Severson, Kim. "Calories do count". New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Young, Lucie (6 July 2011). "Alain Coumont recipes from Languedoc, France". London: Telegraph.
- "Film locations for Scream 3". Movie-locations.com. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- "A Mouse in the Salad". Freakonomics Podcast. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- "The Days of Wine and Mouses". Retrieved 28 February 2012.