When we think of Luxury Patisseries in Dhaka one of the far and few refined bake stores comes in the name of Edith. Serving classic French and Italian pastries like macarons, croissants, eclairs and other baked goods, Edith has garnered a name for itself for its quality and opulent hospitality.
After 3 years of operating from a grand store front in the heart of Banani, they have now moved into a ghost kitchen with a focused menu that serves delicious pastries to satisfy Dhaka's sweet craving.
In a conversation with Arbab Musa, the Executive Chef and CEO of Bond Foods, (The parent company of Edith, Taltibaaz, Ricky's, Olympus) we dive deep into understanding what all goes behind managing this high end Bake House.
We asked him to take us back to how it all began and describe the journey of finding Edith to which he said "The first place to ever serve macarons in Dhaka was my mom’s online bakery “Les Macarons,” one that I helped her name and operate during high school. As a third culture kid, I was relatively new to Bangladesh, the culture and the local food industry so I partnered with my mother to open a patisserie serving baked goods.
We spent quite a few long nights arguing on the name. It had to be French but most French names were difficult to pronounce. By the end we had settled on Edith and thus began the arduous process of recipe development, restaurant design and construction, importing furniture & machineries. The highlight of the entire opening process was when I signed up to a 2 month course in Thailand learning how to bake artisan breads, breakfast pastries and various cakes."
"Edith officially started as a small pop up store on the street corner with a single display that only served macarons. After a few months we had finally closed a deal for a ground floor location on Banani 11 where we fully launched our bakery which was adorned with ornaments & decorations to emulate a grand Parisian patisserie."
When we asked him to describe the conceptualization of the menu and the thought process behind the food items he said "Menu conceptualization is one of my most favorite parts of my job. There are so many details to take into consideration. For Edith, menu conceptualization was always difficult. With a plethora of bakery options available in the country I wanted to be unique in the dishes we serve. A common principle I always try to uphold when conceptualizing creative dishes is to always target the intersection between the familiar & the unfamiliar."
Create a dish with flavors that are relatively familiar to our guests but present it in a new way. For example, black forest cakes have been historically popular in dhaka which tells us these are flavors that our target audience really enjoys; but to put out just another black forest cake would make us just like every other bakery in town. So we infused those flavors into an eclair with a perfectly baked eclair shell that gets filled with a delicious cherry jam & chocolate creme patissiere and topped with chocolate ganache and a maraschino cherry. Same flavors, different form.
Edith is most famous for our macarons, croissants, danishes and eclairs. A lot of R&D and creativity went into these items. An all time crowd pleaser are our chocolate eclairs & cheese danishes. Pairs perfectly with your morning coffee– or even late night munchies."
Running a business comes with a lot of ups and downs. It is never a smooth ride. So we asked him to take us through some of the struggles they faced and the measures they took to overcome all those difficulties, to which he answered "Due to the pandemic and the constant lockdowns, there was a massive shift in our revenue structure. With most of our sales coming from online orders and takeaways and a ground floor location that wasn’t being fully utilized along with a high rental cost, we moved Edith into an entirely ghost kitchen model with a new kitchen.
While the brand itself is still operational, it was personally very difficult for me to let go of a space that had been the backbone of my professional career as an entrepreneur. While the decision was extremely beneficial to our business, letting go of the space was letting go of a way of life I had gotten very used to; but as I often tell myself now - onwards and upwards."
The shift into a cloud model meant bringing a much higher level of focus into Edith. With a dine in space, we had to accommodate various customers by offering a various items on top of our desserts with items like our pastas. However; moving into a cloud model required us to minimize the menu to avoid overwhelming the customers with too many options. With Edith, we’ve gone back to our roots and now only serve our unique and delicious croissants, macarons and choux pastries."
We ended the conversation by asking him about the brand's future plans and how he aims to take the business forward. He replied "For Edith, our plans are to collaborate with other up and coming brands and supply our delicious baked goods to them. We are already supply two burger restaurants with our soft & buttery brioche buns and our plan is to grow this list of partners."