A TRADITIONAL taste of France at an artisan bakery in Summertown has had its high standards recognised by health inspectors.

Gatineau, which was launched in 2007 by pastry chef Hervé Gatineau and now serves a range of breads, hand-crafted pastries and cakes, was given a five-star rating when it was visited by Oxford City Council’s health team last month.

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Debora Brand, marketing manager, said her boss had ‘very high standards’ and would have accepted nothing less.

She explained: “Hervé is very proud of his attention to detail and making sure everything is done to the highest standards with the best quality ingredients.”


Hervé Gatineau working with chocolate. Picture: Debora Brand

On the bakery’s website, he states: “I am keen that Gatineau should always reflect my passion for quality and flair.”

After training in Toulouse as an apprentice aged 15, he worked as a pastry chef in various businesses abroad - including the renowned Laurent Bakery in Sydney, Australia.

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First arriving in the UK in 1997 to work for Maison Blanc in London’s Park Royal, he stayed there for a decade before opening in Oxford.​

To keep up with rising demand in 2018 the bakery’s kitchen was split, with a new large production kitchen opened in Kidlington.


Individual cakes. Picture: Debora Brand

From there all of Gatineau’s breads and pastries are produced daily, while the kitchen in Summertown is dedicated to making cakes.

Keen to offer a truly authentic taste everything from the flour and butter to chocolate comes from France.

Ms Brand said: “We have a real mix of customers from students who pass over the year through to a lot of French nationals, plus some regulars who have been coming to us for years.

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“Some people come in for the same thing every single day, one man always has the same pain au chocolat and croissant.”

She added: “We get quite a few people who come to us for cakes for special occasions and because we don’t do the usual sponge but a mousse cake it is something people haven’t had before.

“After they’ve tried it though they tend to keep coming back.”


Cake being decorated. Picture: Debora Brand

Ms Brand said sourdough was an increasingly popular choice as well.

The Gatineau team have also developed a wholesale service catering to other businesses such as colleges, delis, cafes, restaurants and hotels. Customers include several Oxford University colleges, The Oxford Cheese Company, Vaults & Garden, Brew, Oxford Wine Café and The Missing Bean.

The Summertown bakery is also set to get a revamp later this year to reflect a new logo.

Visit gatineau.uk.com for more information.