Emmanuel Macron has new favorite bakery as best baguette in Paris is crowned

Deciding on an ideal bakery spot is increasingly becoming more trouble than it’s worth. A deluge of TikToks and varying recommendations from your hipster friends will tend to leave you confused and hungry. Luckily for French President Emmanual Macron, all he has to do to get the best bread in Paris is open his door every morning.

The person delivering that bread, though, will change hands as judges awarded this year’s prize for one of the most fierce food competitions in the French capital.

Xavier Netry, who runs Boulangerie Utopie, has been crowned the winner of the 31st edition of the Baguette Grand Prix Paris.

The bakery, located in Paris’s 11th arrondissement, beat out 172 competitors to win this year’s coveted prize.

For 37-year-old Netry, it’s recognition for a job he claims to have been doing since his early teenage years.

“I have been a baker for 25 years. And I was saying to myself it would be nice to have a recognition and today it has happened so I’m very happy about it,” Netry told AP News.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and her deputy Emmanuel Grégoire took to social media to praise this year’s winner. Hidalgo will present Netry with the prize on May 7, the day of Paris’s Bread Festival.

TikTokers have already started to flood the bakery, suggesting Netry will need to up his supplies by more than those needed for the 30 extra baguettes that will feed Macron and his staff every day.

Best baguette

Awarded by a panel of judges who blind taste test a pile of baguettes from the city’s best bakeries, the contest inspires fierce competition, innovation, and experimentation.

The eight judges, made up of six random Parisians, two professionals, and an assistant, determine the best baguette based on five criteria: cooking, taste, crumb, cellular structure, and appearance.

Bakers tend to use sourdough starter rather than yeast to make their dough rise. The natural fermentation ingredient—a mix of bread and water—makes bread harder to perfect than when using dried yeast, but is typically much tastier.  

Sourdough often gives its bakers the opportunity to make more varied bread, something that has allowed competitors at the Baguette Grand Prix to push the boundaries in order to stand out. 

“Every baker has his own secret, whether in the choice of flour or in the fermentation process. Even sourdough can contain unexpected ingredients, such as orange or grape juice, to enrich the taste,” Adeline Chazelle, from the Syndicat des Boulangers du Grand Paris, told Sortir a Paris.

Bread fit for a President

Netry will have to get used to a new schedule after claiming this year’s top prize. 

His reward is the chance to deliver fresh baguettes every morning to French President Emmanual Macron’s official residence, the Élysée Palace. He has also scooped a €4,000 ($4,290) payday. 

Last year’s winner, Tharshan Selvarajah of Levain des Pyrénées, delivered 30 baguettes at 6:30am every morning to Macron’s residence. 

“God gave us all different hands,” Selvarajah, who immigrated to France from Sri Lanka when he was 21, told the New York Times.

“My mother’s chicken curry and my wife’s chicken curry may use the same chicken but they do not taste the same,” he said. “God gave me the hands to make the best baguette in France! I am never angry with the flour as I knead the dough.”

However, as the first non-French winner of the prize, Selvarajah felt he had been consistently slighted by his peers because of his status as an immigrant. 

“It’s not pleasant, but I don’t giver a damn,” he told the Times.