President and CEO, AirMarket USA, and Founder of Delyse Bakery
Where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in the South of France and completed my studies in finance and economics in Nice and New York.
Did you grow up in a family of cooks and bakers? Yes, my family owned a bakery called Epi D’Or in the South of France and my brother is an amazing chef.
Earliest food memory? Eating crepes with fresh cream coming right from our own cow at our farm and fresh raspberries picked from our garden!
Biggest influence thus far on your business career? My parents – I witnessed them working smart and hard. My father was a genius builder; he built hanging bridges, airport extension on the Mediterranean Sea, and my mother was a nurse. Working hard is, for sure, part of my DNA.
Your bakery began in your garage. Did you always have confidence you would be successful? I actually was writing a book and started to cook for fun. I introduced our family recipe for pralines to friends in Reno, and witnessed people devouring my product and becoming addicted to them. It was obvious there was a need to bring the praline to the U.S.!
You have a deep connection with Hawaii nowadays through your work with Hawaiian Airlines, through charitable donations, support of youth programs and donations of Thanksgiving meals. Might we see any of your baked goods – including your amazing Pineapple Cheesecake – for sale here anytime soon? (laughs) Yes, for sure! Hawaii has been very special to my daughter and myself. Everyone has asked, “When can we buy your product here?” We have been working on this seriously and we think everyone in Hawaii will be able to purchase our pralines by the end of the year.
Do you cook at home? Yes, I do simple dishes during the week as I work long hours. On the weekends, I like to cook the kind of French and Italian recipes I learned from my mom and my grandmother, like gnocchi or homemade ravioli, ratatouille or gratin Dauphinois – my specialty dishes. And, of course, I am trying to perfect the Hawaiian, Chinese and Thai cuisine that I love. I am making progress.
What’s always in your fridge? Fresh eggs from our chickens, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salads and asparagus, bell peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, celery, chicken, lamb to barbecue and salmon or ahi, depending on the week.
With whom would you most like to have dinner? My daughter. Kids are bigger than life! And I love my dinners with Sig Rogich. He is such a rock star in the big PR world – he advises presidents and celebrities and has been such an inspiration to me.