July 2019 marks 10 years of Ma Cherie, and what 10 years it’s been.
We wanted to take a trip down memory lane, get the photo albums out and reminisce on the journey of then to now. We’ve put together our favourite and most notable moments from the past 10 years in business.
2009 – We’re open for business
On day one, our mission was simple. To bring authentic French macarons to New Zealand. At this time, we didn’t have a full-time team at Ma Cherie. We spent our evenings after work baking, and our weekends at food markets across Auckland. You might remember seeing our stall at Pine Harbour Fresh Market or French Bay Market in Titirangi.
2009 – Demand for The Macaron Tower Grows!
One of our most popular products following our launch was the Macaron Tower. We made them for weddings, anniversaries and events across the Auckland. We delivered them as far as Matakana and across to Waiheke Island. We were delighted to be asked by Viva to grace the front cover of their December issue with a Christmas themed tower.
2010 – Head Chef Guillaume Nicoli, Guest Judge on New Zealand MasterChef
In 2010, our Head Chef and Co-Founder, Guillaume Nicoli was invited to be a guest judge on New Zealand MasterChef. This was a huge opportunity for us to not only educate New Zealand on what an authentic macaron looks and tastes like, but also a fantastic opportunity to get the Ma Cherie name out there. MasterChef aired in 2011. It was following this that we were able to quit our full-time jobs and work in Ma Cherie full time, that’s when the business really started to grow.
2012 – Launch of the Paris-Brest
In 2012 we launched the Paris-Brest. This is one of the most iconic French Pastries. It’s a ring-shaped Choux pastry, topped with roasted almonds and filled with a rich praline flavour cream. This remains one of our staff favourites, despite it not longer being on our current product list.
2012 – Taste of Auckland
By 2012, all the hard work and hours were paying off. Macarons were becoming increasingly popular in Auckland and we were still being recognised from our time on MasterChef a few years before. We started to diversify the range that we created as people wanted to sample more French delicacies, and the range was growing quickly. By 2012 we were making a range of French style tarts that were becoming very popular.
2012 to 2016 – Our Most Popular Christmas Product Buche de Noel
Every November and December from 2012 to 2016 our kitchen was inundated with orders for our authentically French Buche De Noel. It’s history can be traced by to ancient Celtic times where traditionally real logs were decorated with leaves and ribbons, and then were left to burn overnight in the fireplace.
The Ma Cherie dessert Buche De Noel was made with French style sponge cake, rolled with 70% dark chocolate mousse mixed with raspberry. We topped each log with chocolate Christmas theme decorations, and one of our macarons.
2014 – Introducing the Banoffee Gateaux
We put our French flair on a very popular English dessert, the humble Banoffee Pie. We turned this into a Gateaux with banana, caramel and chocolate flavours. This was an extremely popular product for us back in 2014, so much so that we’re thinking we should relaunch it soon…
2015 to 2017 – Ma Cherie Store in Ponsonby
In February 2015 we took the plunge to open our own store in Ponsonby Auckland. We served up everything from hot cooked breakfasts (with a French twist), fresh pastries made by hand on the premises, and a range of desserts. This was a great time for the business, we dealt with our customers directly and got to understand their needs and wants.
We had a regular cliental, and really connected with the Francophile community in Auckland.
It was with a heavy heart that we made the decision to close the physical store in June 2017, with a new focus – to supply as a wholesaler across Auckland and beyond.
2017 – Focus on Wholesale Distribution across North Island & Diversify the Range
The business focus changed, we had a growing demand from other retailers to stock Ma Cherie products in their restaurants and cafes and we also had retailers approaching us to put Ma Cherie products instore. By 2017, our range included Macaron, Individual Gateaux, Individual Tarts, Cookies and Large French Style Cakes.
In 2017 we also launched our range of Paleo biscuits that remain on our product list to this day. They are all sugar-free but still have a great French taste.
2017 – Join Rocket Corporation Group
In 2017, an opportunity presented itself to join the Rocket Corporation group, and we gladly took it. By joining the group, we had access to greater resource (Finance, Sales, Marketing, HR and Operations) and it gave us the ability to grow and scale the business in our new direction of being a wholesale producer of French Desserts across New Zealand. In addition it meant we could spend more time with our families and have a more desirable work-life balance.
Our co-founders Guillaume and Hiroe are still involved in the business for day to day.
2017 – Launch Savoury Filled Croissant Range
We wanted to launch a taste from home to the New Zealand market – so we designed a range of “Ready to Bake” savoury pastries, including Ham & Cheese and Bacon & Mushroom. These are perfect for a café style lunch or morning tea, as well as for catering.
2018 – Launch Frozen “Ready to Rise” Range
For many years in our Ponsonby store we were making fresh pastry daily, and when the business moved into wholesale focus, something we were asked for by our customers regularly was for pre-made authentic French pastry that was easy to use.
We came up with a range of ready to rise pastries that includes Blueberry Danish, Apple Danish, Mini Croissant, Mini Pain au Chocolat.
2019 – Launch Seasonal Ranges
In 2019, we wanted to bring new products to our customers regularly, and the Seasonal Range was born. Every quarter our team design and bring to life a new range of products that are suited to the season ahead, this might be style, seasonal ingredients or taste. This allows our team to flex their creative muscles and gives something new to our customers. This July we launch our Winter Products, which includes this fantastic Blueberry & Cherry Crumble Tart.
What’s the plan for the next 10 years?
Later this year we are due to move to our new customer build food manufacturing site, where we will join our sister brand, Rocket Foods.
We have a number of products in development that we’re excited to launch.
Our mission is to continue to grow the business but keep our French roots at the heart of everything that we do.