It has always been a misconception of mine that CEOs do not have time for the “little people”. I thought that all they were worried about was their own agenda and making money. When I was given the opportunity to interview the CEO of the USA division of PAUL bakery, I have to admit, I thought I was going into this with someone who would be wishing he were somewhere else.
I could not have been more wrong.
Phillipe Sanchez has such a charismatic personality that just sets your anxieties at ease. He makes you feel (although in some ways he is) that he is just like you…the only difference is that he has to run a renowned European company right here in the US. When I told him I was nervous, he made light of it by cracking jokes to make me laugh and make me feel comfortable. Every question I asked him, he responded with thoroughness and thoughtfulness, even with all of the commotion of a photoshoot setup going on in the background. He didn’t just spew out an answer in order to get the interview over with. Although he was my first interview of this caliber, he gave me the respect as if I were a journalist from the NY Times….and for that, I respect him and the establishment even more.
When Phillipe speaks of PAUL, he speaks with fondness, giving me the back story of how it started in France many, many years ago (126 years and 5 generations to be exact). He knew that the next spot for PAUL in the US would be a city that has a growing and evolving culinary scene, and Boston was the no-brainer final selection.
After rattling off his many accolades, (managing director of Starbucks in France, CEO of photo works, licensing director of consumer products with Disney etc), he gave me a great outlook on working and choosing where to work.The similarities of those companies, as well as his new title as CEO of Paul USA, is that everyone of those companies has a very strong passion for what they do.
Paul, and the family that founded the company, has a passion for the art of making bread as well as strong values that resonated with Phillipe. He didn’t just take the position for the title, he took it because he deeply believes in the company and the fact that they try to make everything on site as much as possible, using fresh ingredients as well as steering away from the use of GMOs. He was also attracted to the fact that many of the people who work with PAUL have been with the company for decades; including the baker whom was hired directly from France and derives from a long line of bakers. If that’s not authentic, then I don’t know what is; and if that doesn’t show a company filled with workers who truly love the brand and what they are do, then I don’t know what does.
In regard to the menu, it is very extensive. You can come to the restaurant in downtown crossing and get something for breakfast, such as Phillipe’s childhood favorite while growing up in France, a fresh baguette, simply cut, spread with butter and dipped in coffee. On your lunch break you can keep it light with a fresh salad. Need a little pick me up? Try a delicious and traditional pastry for an afternoon sugar rush! When the nightlife picks up and you’re looking for somewhere to take your significant other, head down to PAUL for an extensive dinner menu consisting of traditional French fare which Phillipe guarantees is fantastic; trust me, he’s tried every dish.
So, if you decide to visit this “little bit of France, far away” as Phillipe coined it, (eerily similar to how I described it in my original post of the Assembly row location, here) he hopes you come to enjoy and appreciate the fact that they made this place as genuine to France as possible, from the decor, down to the delectable and savory food.
J’aime PAUL, you’ve stolen my heart!
Thank you to Mr. Sanchez for the opportunity to sit down and speak about your wonderful establishment. Thank you for being so personable and kind, answering all my questions professionally and thoroughly. Thank you to Lisa Amore for setting this all up and extending an invite to me to attend this special event. I am greatly appreciative and thankful.