Très chic patisserie Bo Nuage is edging up on their one year anniversary. The classically-touched Parisian delicacy house on Melrose serves their own little "cloud cakes", which operate somewhere in between a light, airy cupcake and more traditional meringue, and includes flavors that span the gamut from mango to hazelnut to snickerdoodle.
Owners Pascal and Audrey Achcar hit upon the concept back in their native France, and decided to merge the traditional cake with more innovative flavors popular here in the States. Eater sat down to talk with the pair about making it last on Melrose, and how their secretly-Kosher cakes are making inroads with the nearby Jewish community.
So how did Bo Nuage come about? Audrey: Actually this was my favorite cake in Paris. It was literally down the street. And when we arrive here, Pascal, who is a chef, I tell him that I miss this cake so much. So he make some, and he improved the recipe, and so I tell him that he do so well, we should do it here as a bakery, so that everyone can discover this.
Pascal: It started from scratch, really, just baking at home. We try a few recipes, then rent a kitchen, do it bigger and bigger. Friends like it, and eventually say there must be something with that. I was looking to build a company here, because in my previous life I was a baker, but I saw that there was huge competition for bread, so I knew that would be hard. So I figured, why shouldn’t we try this cake?
We rented a kitchen off of Jefferson for something like eight months, just trying different recipes and making samples. Each time we were doing like 200 pieces, so people can try for free and tell us what they like. Yes, this is enough sugar, or not enough sugar. Do they want organic, Kosher, not Kosher, dairy, no dairy? And that started us.
Were you always looking at storefronts specifically on Melrose? Audrey: We were looking at anywhere, but what we like on Melrose is that it’s really central.
Pascal: What we decided to do was to have a main kitchen in the center of Los Angeles, so that in the future, when we would like to open up maybe five or six new storefronts, we would have the kitchen in the middle, so we can distribute from there. This was the greatest opportunity for us, because though you cannot tell from the street, the kitchen is very big.
is that still the plan, to have five or six locations? Pascal: More than that, maybe.
Audrey: No, no, no! Just five! [laughs] I say we will start with another one first.
How has it been, in your first year, to fit into the neighborhood along Melrose? Audrey: At first, the customers, they are really curious. They ask if it’s a cupcake, and we answer that it is a gluten-free cupcake. Pascal: That’s the best answer. We tell people that this is a new, gluten-free cupcake, and the lowest calorie cupcake in the city. We start at 80 calories and go to 250 calories, which is already two or three times less than a cupcake.
Pascal: Because we are Kosher and on Melrose near Fairfax, many big families in the neighborhood come to us, too. We are completely Kosher certified, and so we have been able to tell these people look, we have a new cake for Friday night! You have been looking for something, we have eighteen different flavors.
How many customers do you see per day? Pascal: Probably 150 per day. That’s the average in this store, and we are also doing all sorts of retail. In hotels, with other restaurants and distributors, like Monsieur Marcel. It’s an old French connection! I told them that I am French, they are French, and I need help. [laughs]
And how does it feel to have made it to one year? Pascal: It’s wonderful, I cannot lie to you. If you asked me six months ago, I was not so sure. But L.A. is like that. Most people want to see how it goes, how you are doing, before adopting you and making a habit of your product.