While many budding bakers got their start during the pandemic, Ashley and Gautier Coiffard took their love of creating delicious breads and pastries to a new level by creating a boulangerie in their Brooklyn home aka L’Appartement 4F. Both Ashley and Gautier are completely self-taught bakers, and they are now making their dreams of opening their own boulangerie on Montague Street in Brooklyn a reality.
Since first the couple posted their first menu in June of 2020, they’ve been featured in several notable publications including the New York Post, New York Magazine, Time Magazine, French Morning & France Amerique Magazine and I’m so happy to be able to share an interview with Ashley Coiffard on the blog today.
I love sharing about how a couple first met. Tell me about how you met Gautier?
I met Gautier by a stroke of luck in a charming cocktail bar in the Upper East Side. I was drinking dirty martinis with my best friend and Gautier was with a work colleague at a table close by. I was reluctant to go out that night, but my friend convinced me, and the rest is history. We have been inseparable since.
You are both self-taught bakers. What is the most important factor in creating the ‘perfect’ croissant?
The most important factor in making the ‘perfect’ croissant is passion. Creating a flaky, buttery, croissant takes a lot of commitment and dedication. I think people gravitate towards Gautier’s croissants because they can taste the love he puts into them.
What is one of the most time-consuming (yet rewarding) bread or pastry to make?
The most time-consuming pastry is the croissant. It takes at least three days to make, requires so many steps and the baking conditions need to be perfect. This makes it so rewarding when they come out perfectly. It also feels wonderful to know so many people really love them as much as we do.
Out of all of the delicious bread and pastries, which are your personal favorites?
My personal favorite is the croissant a tout. I grew up on Long Island eating “Everything bagels”. The croissant a tout is baked with everything seasoning on top and comes out so flavorful and savory. Gautier’s favorite is Le Framboise. It is an almond croissant with raspberry chocolate that he sources from France. We top it with almonds and dried raspberries and it’s wonderfully tart.
When you started the Kickstarter, did you have the spot for your future bakery already in mind?
We looked at a few places for the bakery in Manhattan before we found the space in Brooklyn Heights. We never got that magical feeling people were telling us we would have until we stepped foot into our future space that we are leasing now. As soon as we saw it, we agreed that this was it. We decided to take a leap of faith and sign the lease before we had enough money to build a kitchen or furnish it. We just knew we had to make it work somehow. After using our wedding fund to secure the location, we decided to launch a Kickstarter to help us, and we were speechless with the response. We did not know what to expect but we could have never predicted how wonderful of an experience that would be.
How does it feel to know that your bread and pastries have become as popular as those from Dominique Ansel and Patisserie Claude?
It is so exciting to know that people really love Gautier’s breads and pastries. It is such an honor when people compare us to very loved brands. It still feels so new and exciting.
You recently had a fun afternoon in the park with Krystal Bick of This Time Tomorrow, Leeanne Ansar, and other talented women who call NYC home. What was your favorite part of this experience?
My favorite part of that experience was getting to see how authentic, intelligent, and interesting these women are. It was such an inspiring experience. Our most favorite part of starting this bakery is getting to meet so many remarkable people. It has made all of the super late nights or very early mornings worth it.
You have been featured in the NY Post, NY Magazine, Time Magazine, French Morning & France Amerique Magazine. What was it like seeing L’Appartement 4F and your story in print?
We will never get used to seeing articles written about us. We get so excited every time we see something and make sure to buy multiple copies of anything in print. We take nothing for granted and are grateful that people want to hear our story. We hope that it inspires others to follow their dreams.
How would you spend the perfect day in Brooklyn?
The perfect day in Brooklyn would consist of riding our bikes to the Farmer’s market early in the morning, picnicking in Prospect Park, antiquing in Williamsburg followed by glasses of wine at June Bar.