The Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans hosted French Morning’s first ever Best Croissant competition on Sunday, May 20.
Some 200 foodies came to walk up and down the aisles of the museum and — above all — taste the croissants of the four finalists. As always, a jury of professionals were hard at work, blind taste-testing the croissants and pain au chocolat. Chefs René Bajeux (Dickie Brennan Restaurants) and Ravindra Verma (pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans) were assisted by two “enlightened amateurs,” Ron Marlow (board member of the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce) and Marie Kaposchyn (program Director for International Education, University of New Orleans).
“We were impressed by the quality of the four finalists’ products,” said René Bajeux. But as always there must be a winner, and so the Grand Prix for the best croissant went to La Boulangerie and its chef Carlos Sanchez. The Magazine Street establishment is owned by Chef Donald Link, who is also the owner of Herbsaint and Cochon restaurants, among others.
As the jurors were hungry for more, they also tasted the pain au chocolat, and awarded the prize for the best “chocolate croissant” to La Petite Sophie. This was an encouraging moment, and one of great pride, for Jeff and Lya Becnel, the owners of this pastry shop in River Ridge which opened only a few months ago.
The audience was also called on to choose its favorite of day. Mayhew Bakery won by a narrow margin over its three competitors. Kelly Mayhew, the owner, is also a newcomer. Her bakery opened in 2016 and sells in the city’s markets.