Pascal Rigo

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Pascal Rigo
Born Bordeaux, France
Nationality French
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"[1][2] 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.

Early life[edit]

Rigo was born in Bordeaux, France, and after running a daily errand to buy two baguettes for his family,[3] apprenticed at his village's bakery at age 7.[4] 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.[4] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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,[6][7] 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,[3][8] and Plantanos.[1] One, Cortez, earned a Michelin Star.[9] In 2001 Rigo and partners bought Oh-La-La, one of San Francisco's oldest coffee house chains.[6][10] The group later divested of most of its restaurants to concentrate on its bakeries.[11][12] In 2009 it bought a share of Miette, a small chain of candy stores and cupcake bakers.[13]

In addition to its retail operations the company supplies bread to fine dining restaurants and hotels in the area, as well as grocery stores.[4] Some rival food entrepreneurs in San Francisco's small French entrepreneur community have criticized Rigo for his fast expansion efforts.[14] The New York Times called Rigo "the only real entrepreneur" among the community.[15] Rigo has intentionally avoided publicity so as not to encourage a backlash from critics.[4]

In 2003 Rigo co-wrote a cookbook, The American Boulangerie: Authentic French Pastries and Breads for the Home Kitchen.[3][16]

On June 4, 2012, Rigo sold La Boulange Bakery to Starbucks for $100 million.[17] In June 2015, Starbucks announced it would close all of its La Boulange cafes by the end of September 2015.[18]

Rigo later announced plans to re-open six of the La Boulange locations, under the name "La Boulangerie de San Francisco." [19]


  1. ^ a b GraceAnn Walden (2005-09-14). "Rigo expands his empire". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  2. ^ Greg Hugunin (2001-06-20). "Galette:Into the Fold". SF Weekly. 
  3. ^ a b c 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. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Julie Ratner (2001-09-14). "Rising profile:Businessman and baker Pascal Rigo is rolling out restaurants across the city". San Francisco Business Times. 
  5. ^ "Boulangerie at Pine Street". Bay Bread. 
  6. ^ "Boulange de Cole". Bay Bread. 
  7. ^ "Gastronomique: Sous le Soleil Exactement". SFist. 2005-06-02. 
  8. ^ "New Michelin guide sprinkles stars in Bay Area". Los Angeles Times. 2007-10-24. [dead link]
  9. ^ Carol Emert (1999-10-03). "Breadmaker Rises Up to Swallow Oh-La-La Coffee Chain". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  10. ^ "The Inside Scoop: San Francisco's Cortez, Pescheria sold; Perry's closes". San Francisco Chronicle. 2008-04-02. 
  11. ^ "The Inside Scoop: Gastropub planned for Marina; Ponzu gets a new chef". San Francisco Chronicle. 2008-07-23. 
  12. ^ "Manresa's Syhabout eyes Jojo's space". San Francisco Chronicle. 2009-01-14. 
  13. ^ GraceAnn Walden (2000-11-29). "Galette to Open in Pacific Heights". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  14. ^ Amanda Hesser (2002-12-11). "A taste of San Francisco: Fluent in French, with a West Coast accent". New York Times. 
  15. ^ "The American Boulangerie". Gayot. 
  16. ^ Lucchesi, Paolo. "La Boulange sold to Starbucks for $100 million". Inside Scoop. Inside Scoop. Retrieved 6/4/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. ^ "Starbucks to close all La Boulange retail locations". Reuters. 2015-06-17. Retrieved 2015-06-17. 
  18. ^ Sarah Fritsche (2015-09-27). "La Boulange will live again as La Boulangerie de San Francisco". San Francisco Chronicle. 

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