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“Home is not about the place; it’s a feeling. It could be a sound, or a person, but for me, it is the smell and taste — like freshly baked bread.” This analogy is an unsurprising one to anyone who is familiar with the work of Gregoire Michaud.
Michaud is the founder of Bakehouse, a popular bakery with a cult following, recognisable by queues that often engulf its Soho and Wan Chai locations, and his personal expression of a 21-year love affair with Hong Kong and its unique culinary culture. “You have all these stories everywhere you look. It’s so diverse,” he says of the city’s dynamic food scene.
While in many ways the opposite of that of his native Switzerland, Hong Kong cuisine still brings him the comforts of home, from a hearty bowl of wonton noodles in an unassuming shop — whose tiled floors inspired Bakehouse’s own — to what he guarantees are the city’s best egg waffles he finds on his regular pilgrimages to Shau Kei Wan. “As a pastry lover, they bring me comfort,” he explains. “My mum baked tarts and cookies and I ate them fresh from the oven. Here, this guy makes egg waffles and I eat them fresh out of the iron.”
Now a well-seasoned Hong Kong local, Michaud becomes homesick for its flavours whenever he spends long periods away from the city. “A friend from Hong Kong opened a restaurant [in Switzerland], and I have to go at least once a week when I’m there to satisfy the cravings,” he says. Over the last year, Michaud has longed to fly back to Switzerland to visit family and friends, but staying in Hong Kong has given him a new perspective, he says. “I don’t need to go home anymore.”
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