Monday, 22 Mar 2010

It’s not often you expect can- can dancers and cakes to feature on the streets of Cambridge, but a new patisserie featured both - and attracted large crowds to its official opening.

Patisserie Valerie has been catering to our indulgences since 1926, but has been confined to the streets of London. In the first of a series of openings, you can now find their new outlet in Bridge Street.
Opening the new outlet was James Counsell, President Elect of the Cambridge Union.

Paul May, Managing Director for the Company said,
“Some people think that it’s a bit odd opening a luxury cake shop in the middle of a recession, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Coffee, cakes and pastries are a great pick me up if you are feeling a little bit down – or a fantastic way to celebrate!

The good news is that we very much value our high street presence at a time when many are under threat – and that we are creating more than 20 new jobs in the area.

That is why we wanted to have a celebration and a bit of fun at the launch.

We are hoping to build good relationships with local schools, colleges, organisations and businesses because we are all in a position to help each other. We are hoping to launch a pastry chef training programme at each of our stores and would welcome links with relevant bodies.”


Stylish new eatery opens in old Halfords site

Cambridge News - Stephen Exley

STYLISH continental café culture has arrived in Cambridge with the opening of a high-profile new eatery.

Patisserie Valerie has opened a new city centre branch in the former Halfords premises in Bridge Street. A touch of glamour was added to the opening on Saturday by the presence of girls wearing can-can outfits, who distributed flyers to passing shoppers. The official opening was carried out by James Counsell, president-elect of the Cambridge Union society.

The patisserie has already taken on eight employees in the city, and is in the process of recruiting more part-time staff after receiving a steady stream of customers on its opening day.

Johnnie Sewell, deputy manager of the branch, said: “The first day went fantastically well. We were very, very busy and were packed out from the opening until closing time. Business was very steady, we couldn’t have asked for better.” 

The company describes its patisseries as “havens of self-indulgence”, and specialises in hand-made cakes and patisserie, continental breakfasts, lunches and specialist teas and coffees. Mr Sewell said the firm had drafted in extra staff from London to help out at the Cambridge branch’s opening day.
He added: “We have hired eight full-time staff, who are doing very well so far. But we are looking to recruit more people, especially part-timers to help out at the weekend.”

Cambridge resident Claire Cox, 36, who brought her family to the café on its opening day, said: “I was very impressed. It’s a really nice place, and the cakes are excellent. It’s nice to have somewhere like this in Cambridge.”

Last week, Trinity College spoke of its desire to bring a post office to the “vital” shopping area in Jesus Lane and Bridge Street, which has shops lying empty.  College chiefs want it to be sited next to Patisserie Valerie in the old Yorkshire Bank building in Jesus Lane – but Royal Mail has begun a consultation to place it in King Street, half a mile away.

College bursar Rory Landman said: “Having a post office in the vicinity would help revitalise a vital shopping area of the city along Bridge Street and Jesus Lane.”

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