Denis Langlois operates the bakery at Bali’s only hypermarket, Carrefour on Jl. Sunset Road in Kuta, one of the best sources of quality fresh bread on the island. The 42-year-old father of three shared his day with The Bali Times’ Laurane Marchive
Living this life is realizing my dream.
Every day I wake up at 6am, quickly drink some hot chocolate, have a shower and go straight to Carrefour, to be there for 7. Production at the bakery starts at 3am, and has to be finished in the early morning, because even before the store opens, we deliver to hotels and villas.
For everything to be ready at 9:30, when Carrefour opens, a second team comes at 6am to organize everything, clean the bakery area, put the products where they ought to be and get ready for the customers to arrive. All this is very well organized, and my job is to supervise, to make sure all the products are OK. At 9:30 everything has to be ready, and I am here to make sure it will be.
As soon as I have some spare moments, I think about creating new products, as it’s what I like most in my job. I’ve been working in bakeries for 25 years now, so I know my job pretty well, and I mostly use my instinct to create. Running a bakery is all about knowing to go further than the recipe. I think about it during my work, in the shop, at home, everywhere. Sometimes I even dream about a cake, and I try to reproduce it the next day. And all my products contain something special I added, something that comes from my imagination. I believe this is one of the reasons why people like this bakery so much.
But the things I like most to make are the traditional ones, the ones I liked when I was a child, like éclair au chocolat chouquette mille feuille. I want to show people that simple can be beautiful, and when I manage to reproduce what I liked as a child, the customers go for it.
I leave the shop at 6:30 in the evening, which means I really work the whole day, but I don’t care because my job is my passion. But it’s exhausting: I have to always pay attention to what is happening, all the time, and it’s my responsibility to be there every time this bakery needs me. I remember once, one of the bakers was sick and I had to come in at 3am to replace him. This is my job, as a manager, to supervise and work more than the others. Being a professional means being always ready to work a little bit harder, a little bit longer.
When I come back home, around 7pm, my two daughters and my wife welcome me. My family gives me the strength to work as hard as I can, and to spend as much time with them as possible. I am from France and my wife is from Sulawesi, so we are our only family here in Bali, and we do everything together. I like nothing more than coming back home, with my wife waiting for me, as she’s not working and just taking care of our third child, still a baby. She cooks excellent Indonesian or French food, and it’s a pleasure to relax and to watch someone else cook.
Living this life is realizing my dream. Bali is my home now. I first came to Indonesia in 1996, and I fell in love with the country. Then I came back seven or eight times. I met my future wife, and I decided to come and work here. I left everything to settle down here.
Now my work really pleases me as I can express myself in my creations, and I never get bored. Keeping the same level of quality every day is not always easy; it’s challenging, and I like that.
I used to climb a lot, a long time ago: climbing mountains alone, and by night. Now my job seems to be the same – a long effort where it is not easy to reach the top, but once you are there, the feeling is magical. But I haven’t reached the top yet – the best is coming and I am very confident about the future.
Most of all I am very proud of the people who work with me. Most of them didn’t have any formal training when they started working in Carrefour, so I had to teach them everything. This is an important side of my work as well. Some of them learned a lot, but I am not only talking about the cooks – everyone is important to me. Even the one who just cleans the floor every day is important; we couldn’t do anything without him. A good bakery relies on teamwork.
I am really happy with my life now, and I remember doing homework about Bali when I was 10 years old. When I was doing it, I thought: “This is my place.” So now I have nothing to complain about.