You have to be patient to have the chance to taste the delicious organic baguette from La Bicyclette Bakery. On Saturday mornings, the line goes around the block from 667 Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg. "I am fortunate to have been able to remain open during the epidemic and to have a very loyal clientele", explains a smile on the corners of the lips Florent Andreytchenko.
“I have always linked travel and work”
A true bakery purist, the 31-year-old Champenois "fell" into trouble at the age of six during a school trip. "The good smells, the atmosphere, I immediately knew that was what I wanted to do." At eleven, the young boy trained at a baker, friend of his father, in the small village of Étoges in the Marne, before starting a pre-apprenticeship at 13 at the Chamber of Trades of Laon in Hauts- of France. "I learned artisanal and traditional baking, in which the quality of the ingredients and the development of know-how count." Florent Andreytchenko, 18, wins his first permanent contract, but the call from abroad is very strong. He left his job two years later for Australia and Brisbane, where he worked for Savico Basset Rouge, a baker from Mauritius trained in France at Fauchon. “I’m very proud to say that he’s my mentor. He pushed me to the limit, promising me that I could work anywhere in the world after training at home. He was right".
Florent Andreytchenko has a second passion, geography. He explains having “Always connected travel and work”. It is therefore natural that he left his post in Brisbane in 2011 for New Zealand, then for Norway. He then worked successively in Corsica, Croatia, Morocco, Hong Kong until leaving for New York in December 2018. "I have made eight countries in eight years. I wanted to travel but also to learn from each country, from each bakery. I worked with all kinds of people, I had to manage with all kinds of materials and raw materials. That’s what I am today, a MacGyver from the bakery. ”
“My showcase? This is my product ”
Florent Andreytchenko falls in love with the United States on a trip to the West Coast in 2018. He first hopes to start a project in Seattle, but changes his mind after discovering the city's weather. “300 days of rain a year, no thanks”, he jokes. New York becomes obvious, while the headquarters of his partner Joana's business is in Manhattan. “I spent six months walking the streets of New York looking for something affordable. I ended up finding the perfect place in Williamsburg, in a neighborhood where there is already a lot of local crafts and few chains. ”
At Bicyclette Bakery, Florent Andreytchenko has two obsessions: quality and price. It serves a menu of French classics including croissant, pain au chocolat, raisin bread and savory products such as quiche lorraine or emmental ham sandwich. “It is out of the question to see frozen products at home. Here, every product goes through my hands ”, explains the young baker who offers his organic baguette at the unbeatable price of $ 2. “It bothers me to see her elsewhere at 4 or 5 $. The baguette is not a luxury product, it is the basis of the bakery. It must be accessible to as many people as possible ”.
Do not expect to find French flags at Bicyclette Bakery, or to see the bakery in one of the newspapers, Florent Andreytchenko is not in a marketing logic. “I want to work quietly. My showcase is my product. I only count on word of mouth ”. A paying logic considering the frequentation of the place, while the chef is still not re-authorized to welcome customers on the spot. "I'm only open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for now. I hope to be again 6 days a week from June 22 " (note: date of phase 2 of the reopening in New York).
Happy in New York despite recent news, Florent Andreytchenko just had his first child in February. Its medium-term objective is to "stabilize" his bakery. He is not against the idea of opening a second point of sale afterwards and developing in other American cities, on one condition: "I want my teams to share the same philosophy as me".