PH’s homegrown ‘French Baker’ turns 25

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Businessman Johnlu Koa toasts French Baker’s 25th anniversary, while celebrating his Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Award—a first for the Philippines

Businessman Johnlu Koa toasts French Baker’s 25th anniversary, while celebrating his Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Award—a first for the Philippines

THE French Baker, a proudly Filipino company that first opened in SM City North Edsa, triumphantly celebrated its 25th anniversary with a spectacle of fashion, art, music, entertainment and delicious food at the Mega Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong City.

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The main highlight of the occasion was the launch of a raffle promo where one lucky winner will get the chance to visit and experience Paris, France in 2015. Dubbed “Visit Paris in Summer 2015,” the promo marks French Baker’s 25 years of bringing European-style breads to the Filipino mass market, and the company’s way of thanking its patrons who have embraced and supported the bakery-café through the years.

“It was in 1985 when I travelled to Europe for the first time that I fell in love with Paris and her baked goodies. Since then I’ve dreamt of doing the same so that I can impart a similar experience to our kababayans in the Philippines,” shared Johnlu Koa, a professor turned entrepreneur, and proud founder and chief executive officer of The French Baker.

“It is for this same reason that we wanted to give back to our loyal customers the same French experience not just through our products, but by giving one lucky winner a chance to see and feel for themselves the beauty and charm of Paris.”

“Visit Paris in Summer 2015” will take the raffle winner and three of his or her companions on an all-expense paid 10-day trip to Paris through luxury escorted tours provider Insight Vacations. Organized by Rajah Travel Corp, the promo is also supported by the trip’s official carrier, Etihad Airways as the official airline.

The promo is ongoing until March 15, 2015, followed by the grand draw will be on March 20.

The grand prize winner will get to spend at least three days in each of France’ key cities, including Paris, the old Roman City of Nimes; and finally in Monte Carlo.

“People may ask why four tickets for one winner, and not four winners with one ticket each?” Koa furthers. “The reason is that we wanted the winner to see the charms of France and experience that magical feeling together with family and friends, and not just by themselves.”

Silver history
Opening its first branch at the SM City North Edsa in 1989, The French Baker began as a startup selling French-inspired breads and pastries such as baguettes, croissants, sourdough and tarts alongside local favorites like pan de sal and ensaymada, until it expanded into a casual dine-in that also offers soups, salads, pasta and pizza.

It prides itself as the first establishment to introduce European-style breads and pastries in the Philippine market, and the first to employ the nightly half-price sale to ensure the freshness of baked goods to be sold the next day.

Today, The French Baker has 52 branches all over the country, and has expanded to include The French Baker “Salon de The” edition.

“This is a noteworthy milestone not only for me but for all of us. I thank you all for the support, especially those who have been patronizing our products since we opened 25 years ago. We have achieved so much, and I hope you keep on supporting us so we can do more in the future,” Koa said.

Paris in Manila
Besides the raffle launch, the anniversary celebration also featured an art tableau, decorated with paintings from France; the fashion segment with models dressed in Parisian chic; a food tableau, which provided a delectable choice of the popular bakery-café chain’s entrees and desserts.

TV host Issa Litton hosted the momentous celebration, whose guest list was comprised of public servants, dignitaries, members of media, and Koa’s family and friends.

Among the most prominent names who graced the event were former Sen. Edgardo Angara, Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino, and Trade and Industry Undersecretary Atty. Victorio Dimagiba, to name a few.

Representatives from The French Baker’s partner foundations were also present during the event, as the company pledged to continue supporting deserving charitable organizations. These include the PGH Medical Foundation, represented by its president Dr. Gregorio Alvior Jr.; GoNegosyo’s Jack Umaga; SM Foundation Inc., represented by executive directors Debbie Sy and Linda Atayde; and the EJ Litton Foundation, with its founder Johnny Litton.

The night was also highlighted with Koa’s award for the Outstanding Category of the Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) held just the night before.

APEA is an awards ceremony organized by Enterprise Asia that honors entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region who have shown outstanding leadership and innovation when it comes to managing their businesses.

Koa is one of the very first Filipino entrepreneurs in the history of APEA to be given the coveted award.

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