• Mar

    Pan D’Les (Bread by Les), La Paz, BCS, Mexico


    This morning we went off in search of some more bread. Last year when I was living here, I’d heard about a local baker. When I finally found him, I bought some bread, and, very pleased, I went back for more, and more, and more.

    Over time, I hung out there and chatted with the owner, whose name is Les. We became friendly and started to share stories and information. This year, when I came back with Laura, I was eager to see him again.

    Outside of the enjoyment of buying his bread, I like our conversations, which are full of banter and some gentle teasing. In addition to his bread, Les is a man whose company I truly enjoy. Our meetings are always lighthearted and fun.

    In one of our many conversations, I asked Les about how he became a baker (forgive me, Les, if I don’t get this right). It began back in the 1970’s and he had worked in many different restaurants. In 1984, his father, who was neither a cook nor a baker, decided to open a restaurant. Les went to help him. In the course of his 15 months there, he met a man who was a pastry chef.

    The man, of German descent, was looking for work. Les’ father, instead of saying that he had no openings, asked the man to show them his stuff. The man went into the back of the restaurant and began to work. Some hours later he’d laid out a huge spread of pastries, cakes, etc. Les was amazed that the man could accomplish so much with so little. That sparked his interest in learning the trade.

    He went to school to learn the basics, then worked in several high class establishments to get a good overall feeling for the industry. Some things, though, eluded him. One of those was how to make a croissant. He was repeatedly told by an accomplished French baker how to do it, but somehow, he and the other bakers he knew, never managed to get it right.

    That is, until he had the opportunity to go to France and study. He took the opportunity. Once there, he had a croissant, bit into it, and immediately realized what the French chef meant. "It was a revelation." he said. In that moment, everything came together and he now knew what to do to get that desired result. Overall, it transformed his baking.

    In my opinion, Les bakes some of the finest goods I’ve ever eaten. And he’s versatile as well. If you decide to come to La Paz, Pan D’Les is a must stop.

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