I met Frank Barron (aka CakeBoy) the way I seem to meet most new friends and acquaintances in Paris these days: at one of the city’s many coffee shops. In fact, it was at the coffee shop seen above, Boot Café. I strolled in with my in-laws post-brunch in an attempt to school them on the merits of specialty coffee. Given how tiny the café is (barely a sliver!), I couldn’t help but feel the eyes of three lovely men on us: Frank, his partner and Parker, his loyal Boston Terrier. We exchanged pleasantries and continued on our way. For weeks after this encounter, Frank and I crossed paths constantly – at other coffee shops, on our way to coffee shops, on the return walk home from coffee shops. Finally, it only made sense to intentionally plan a date around our shared passion and the rest was, well, a history of caffeine and cake.
As I’ve gotten to know Californian Frank, I’ve learned about his fondness for French fashions, French baked goods and French design and discovered many overlaps in our preferences. I also discovered his unassuming talents in the world of cake making, a skill that may lead him toward an exclusive cake catering company. Until then, I’m more than willing to play guinea pig.
Describe what you love about France in three words.
slightly. salted. butter.
The first thing you grab upon returning to Paris after a trip away?
I often joke with friends that the first thing I grab upon returning to Paris after a trip away is the much-celebrated Ispahan croissant from patisserie Pierre Herme on Rue Bonaparte in the 6th. It’s true…;-)
Something you learned about life as a result of this experience?
I have become something of a flaneur here in Paris. A term that Honore de Balzac once described as, “the gastronomy of the eye.” The art of strolling and looking and devouring every single bit is what will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Favorite neighborhood to do it all: eat, drink, shop, stroll?
I happen to be lucky enough to call Le Marais home which happens to also be home to some of the citys best coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants. Leisurely strolls down Rue Vielle du Temple to the banks of the ile Saint-Louis are best done in the company of a Boston Terrier.
Most amusing or frustrating interaction with the French?
The most amusing interaction with the French happened when I first arrived here three years ago. I would ask all the employees of my local grocery stores and bread shops how they were doing( Bonjour! Comment Ca va?)and was met with looks of disdain and confusion. I was discouraged until I came to understand that you don’t generally ask perfect strangers how they are doing especially while they are ringing you up for laundry detergent!
Thanks, Frank ! Get a preview of Cakeboy’s confections by following him on Instagram: @CakeBoyParis. Website coming soon.