Monday, June 18, 2012


I love France. In a previous life of mine I worked as a PR manager for seven years at a luxury automotive manufacturer and had the amazing opportunity to visit France on numerous occasions as part of my job. We would take groups of journalists overseas for ride & drive events - in our cars we'd start in Paris, winding through the back roads out to magical places such as Le Mans, Lyon, St. Etienne, Tours, Reims, Nice and everywhere in-between. I'll never forget the enchanting scent of the lavender fields that line the country roads of Provence, or the sight of the seemingly-endless, glorious vineyards of the Champagne region, and so much more. And then.... the FOOD. Oh, dear God. The amazing, wonderful, mind-blowingly perfect-in-every-way French food. It truly is a magnificent country.

So, needless to say I was thrilled to be commissioned as the food photographer for the all-new Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Cafe in Newport Beach. The breads, pastries & dishes at Pandor are the most authentic I have ever encountered on this side of the Atlantic. And as I photographed away in the Pandor kitchen last week, my senses were overwhelmed by the beauty & the crunch of the bread, the scent of lavender, and the sounds of the chefs chatting in French - In my mind I was no longer in Newport Beach, but was instantly transported to France and all of its magic.

French Master Baker Julien Pietravalle oversees the breads
The name 'Pandor' was inspired by the French words 'Pain d’Or' - or, 'Golden Bread'. Pandor is owned by an incredibly warm & lovely couple, Raffi & Tiffany Sepetjian. Raffi & Tiffany created the Pandor concept after multiple visits to France where they developed their appreciation for the art of authentic French baking & French cuisine. And authentic it is, thanks to their team of talented French chefs: French Master Baker Julien Pietravalle who oversees the breads, French Pastry Chef Serge Bertrand who oversees the delicate pastries, and LA-based French Chef Eric Cuenin who oversees the café menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

LA-based French Chef Eric Cuenin at work in the Pandor kitchen. Chef Eric oversees the café menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items
Beautiful, vibrant, fresh Pandor salads. Pandor's menu focuses on delivering a culinary experience revolving around sustainable, local & seasonal ingredients, complex textures, and global flavors.
In addition to their first-class cuisine, Pandor will also be serving Orange County's finest coffee from Costa Mesa’s Portola Coffee Lab, offering quality, traceable, fresh-roasted coffee, presented in an artful context.

Pandor will also be serving Orange County's finest coffee from Costa Mesa’s Portola Coffee Lab
Today, Pandor officially opens their doors to the public - you can find them in the Westcliff Plaza at 1126 Irvine Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92660, open daily from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.  And be sure to follow Pandor on Facebook and Twitter for all of the latest news.

To tempt your appetite, below is just a small taste-through-photographs from my recent shoot at Pandor... if you feel your tummy rumbling, then head over & pay them a visit today. Bon apetit!

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