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Picture a young 16-year-old Cambodian boy moving to a country where he barely speaks a word of English, has little money and leaves behind his young love, BUT has ambition and drive that is as big as his smile, and you’ll have met the very talented and humble Jason Hay – owner of the very successful Richoux Patisserie in Ellerslie and now here on Lake Road in Takapuna.
Starting off as a cleaner in a bakery, he took the initiative and plucked up the courage to ask his boss if he could ‘learn to bake with him’. From there, the young boy never looked back. He had found his calling, bringing his sweetheart over from Cambodia, Jason started a bakery at the tender age of 19.
“I always knew I wanted to own my own business,” says Jason. “I had a very supportive extended family here in New Zealand and some gracious employers along the way - people who believed in me and, plus, I really enjoyed baking!” So it seemed the natural progression for this hard-working entrepreneur to start his own business. While the hours are long, the benefits far out weigh the early morning starts.
“Baking requires a lot of patience but the taste-testing doesn’t hurt!” laughs Jason, (well, maybe it just hurts our waistlines!).
And tire he doesn’t; from furthering his skills with study, to entering and winning baking competitions - he won a New Zealand Best Baker award in 2011. But it was his 2008 Supreme Pie Award that put this humble baker on the map. His mince and cheese pie was so famous that: “I had people queuing out the door and down the street, after I won that competition,” recalls Jason, fondly. More recently he has won another award for his chicken, cranberry and camembert pie.
Determination, skill and a labour of love has paid off for this hard-working entrepreneur, who simply lives by the rule: “When you are really happy with what you are doing, you never get tired.” And we won’t tire of those delicious award winning pies. Enjoy!
Mon- Fri 6.30am – 4pm, Sat 7.30am - 2pm, 09 489 9903
447 Lake Road, Takapuna, www.richouxpatisserie.co.nz