This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of The Blue Pumpkin, a French bakery and patisserie whose humble beginnings started with a small shop near Phsa Chas Market in Siem Reap, and has now expanded nationwide to include 14 branches, two central kitchens and over 300 staff.
“The Blue Pumpkin is the first locally created brand concept with a national presence,” said Céline Serriere, The Blue Pumpkin managing director. With this anniversary the bakery has a unique opportunity to revamp their brand in order to strengthen its position in Cambodia by expanding their menu and the design of their branch stores, explained Serriere. The first makeover will happen at their riverside outlet in Phnom Penh and will include a more spacious venue for their diners.
“Everyone will see it. People will be able to naturally move between the ground floor and first floor while enjoying their food,” said Serriere.
To remain a key player in Cambodia by maintaining the healthy standard of homemade food, The Blue Pumpkin has been continuously fine-tuning their recipes to uphold both Khmer and French traditions by creating a synergy between Western and Asian cuisine.
The newest item on their menu is called ‘nom pain Barang,’ a crispy French bread that has been enhanced by the way the bakers knead the dough along with the time-honoured sourdough techniques and a new recipe. With the traditional long fermentation that allows for the full flavor of the dough, without additives or preservatives, Serriere expressed how it maintains the hallmark of The Blue Pumpkin’s French savoir-faire that prides itself on the highest quality, consistency and freshness of ingredients.
When asked about the decision to name the bread ‘Barang,’ a Khmer word that translates as “French,” and more aptly refers to Westerners in general, Serriere laughed and said that she expects the bread to be popular with everyone.
“Almost 100 per cent of our staffs, waitresses and chefs are all Cambodians,” she added saying that many of their chefs have a high level of training in the food and beverage industry. “One of our outstanding pastry chefs is Mey Sokpheak. He is the most creative chef with many long years of experiences with The Blue Pumpkin.”
“The concept to mark our 15th anniversary of The Blue Pumpkin is to cherish the fact that the bakery has grown up in Cambodia,”Serriere added.
The Blue Pumpkin was first opened by French baker Arnaud Curat and his wife Sudarat Phaetkhim. What started as a cute mom and pop day bar, the menu soon expanded to include baked goods, pastries and ice cream. Years later, Arnaud and Sudarat crossed paths with the Dupuis Family, a Cambodian food and beverage specialist. After that, the expansion into Phnom Penh began. Now, the bakery plans on franchising the concept to Thailand and Malaysia, with the hope of becoming the first Cambodian brand implemented beyond the Kingdom.