|Alma mater||[MACI-BEM.MAster in International Trade- CAP Boulanger|
|Occupation||Baker. SVP Starbucks|
|Known for||Owner of The Bay Bread Group and La Boulange|
Pascal Rigo is a French-American Restaurateur who owns a small "empire" of boulangeries, restaurants, and wholesale and retail bakeries in San Francisco and Mill Valley, California that operate as Bay Bread, La Boulange, and (formerly) Cortez, Chez Nous, Gallette, and others.
Rigo was born in Bordeaux, France, and after running a daily errand to buy two baguettes for his family, apprenticed at his village's bakery at age 7. He earned a business degree from the University of Bordeaux, was certified as a professional baker, He first moved to California in order to begin importing local wine to France, but stayed to open a bakery in Los Angeles then later, to San Francisco.
In 1996 Rigo founded Panissimo Group, which ran the bakery on Pine Street that became Bay Bread. He chose to live, and have an office, at the central location in a former French laundry on the busy thoroughfare Rigo bought, and continues to operate, San Francisco's oldest flour mill, which Bay Bread uses to produce organic flour for its loaves. Rigo originally intended to operate as a wholesale bakery, but soon began selling loaves and then croissants to the public. A positive review in the San Francisco Examiner initially popularized the bakery. Rigo renamed it the "Boulangerie", after painting the word on the colorful awning over the sidewalk, then opened similarly themed dine-in bakeries throughout the city. One, in Cole Valley, is the site of the former Tassajara Bakery, where San Francisco's modern artisan bread movement began.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s Rigo and his business partners invested in, and founded, a number of restaurants including Soleil, Rigolo, Gallette, La Table, Le Petit Robert, Chez Nous, Americano, and Plantanos. One, Cortez, earned a Michelin Star. In 2001 Rigo and partners bought Oh-La-La, one of San Francisco's oldest coffee house chains. The group later divested of most of its restaurants to concentrate on its bakeries. In 2009 it bought a share of Miette, a small chain of candy stores and cupcake bakers.
In addition to its retail operations the company supplies bread to fine dining restaurants and hotels in the area, as well as grocery stores. Some rival food entrepreneurs in San Francisco's small French entrepreneur community have criticized Rigo for his fast expansion efforts. The New York Times called Rigo "the only real entrepreneur" among the community. Rigo has intentionally avoided publicity so as not to encourage a backlash from critics.
On June 4, 2012, Rigo sold La Boulange Bakery to Starbucks for $100 million.
- GraceAnn Walden (2005-09-14). "Rigo expands his empire". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Greg Hugunin (2001-06-20). "Galette:Into the Fold". SF Weekly.
- Karola Saekel (2003-12-24). "Bread bakers bank on lots of dough:Tips from Bay Area's Rigo and others make baking easy". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Julie Ratner (2001-09-14). "Rising profile:Businessman and baker Pascal Rigo is rolling out restaurants across the city". San Francisco Business Times.
- "Boulangerie at Pine Street". Bay Bread.
- Heidi Benson (2001-09-16). "Trendspotting". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Boulange de Cole". Bay Bread.
- "Gastronomique: Sous le Soleil Exactement". SFist. 2005-06-02.
- "New Michelin guide sprinkles stars in Bay Area". Los Angeles Times. 2007-10-24.[dead link]
- Carol Emert (1999-10-03). "Breadmaker Rises Up to Swallow Oh-La-La Coffee Chain". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "The Inside Scoop: San Francisco's Cortez, Pescheria sold; Perry's closes". San Francisco Chronicle. 2008-04-02.
- "The Inside Scoop: Gastropub planned for Marina; Ponzu gets a new chef". San Francisco Chronicle. 2008-07-23.
- "Manresa's Syhabout eyes Jojo's space". San Francisco Chronicle. 2009-01-14.
- GraceAnn Walden (2000-11-29). "Galette to Open in Pacific Heights". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Amanda Hesser (2002-12-11). "A taste of San Francisco: Fluent in French, with a West Coast accent". New York Times.
- "The American Boulangerie". Gayot.
- Lucchesi, Paolo. "La Boulange sold to Starbucks for $100 million". Inside Scoop. Inside Scoop. Retrieved 6/4/2012.
- baybread.com - official site