Dark haired man in chef's clothes stands with arms folded in front of counter and case full of baking

For the past three years and more Jean-Francois and Kara Martinez have been serving up a slice of France in West Melton, first at the West Melton market and then at Les Delices Bakery and Patisserie.

It was baking that brought together Jean-Francois, from Brittany in north-west France, and Kara, from the Chatham Islands. The couple met while working at a French bakery in Ireland, JeanFrancois says. “I followed her back home and it’s been 17 years. I love New Zealand. It’s awesome. I love the lifestyle and the people.”

Baking has remained at the heart of their relationship after they settled in Templeton. After a decade of visiting West Melton to sell their bread at the markets, the couple were excited a few years ago to seize the chance of setting up their own bakery in the township.

Jean-Francois, a trained bread baker, creates the bakery's artisan breads and Kara creates the patisseries, Danish pastries and other sweet treats Les Délices serves up.

Jean-Francois has added some typical Kiwi fare to his baking, getting into making Kiwi pies – though he refuses to follow the Kiwi style of using margarine and proudly sticks to his French training of only ever using butter in his pastry.

Community is the heart of the bakery, Jean-Francois says and they source as many of their ingredients as possible locally. “The flour we use is grown and milled in Canterbury and we only use spray-free flour. We use milk sourced here in Selwyn and freerange eggs from West Melton.”

In return, he says West Melton has been good to them. “We have had such awesome support, especially during COVID-19. In level four we did home deliveries of bread and pastries and people really got behind us. We are really proud of how our team has adapted to the restrictions with each level. We do quite a bit of sponsorship of schools and sports teams, it’s a good way to give back. People support us and we like to support local charities where we can”.