Many has been the time when, approaching the cashier as some nondescript deli, my eye has been caught by a display of pre-packaged Voilà Croissants. The sight has always amused and appalled me. In a city like New York, where wonderful bakeries are everywhere, who would satisfy their croissant needs in this processed way? And the name—Voilà—in letters the colors of the French flag. Could the packaging be any more cheesy?
During a trip to Bushwick recently, I passed by the Voilà factory by accident. Curious about the company, I consulted their website when I got home. Turns out they make much more than croissants, including muffins, rolls, pastries and frozen dough for just about everything.
But here's the real shocker. The company was founded in 1976 was a veteran of the tony La Grenouille Restaurant, which is still the standard bearer for fine French cuisine in New York. Founder Frank Kitchens says he was the pastry chef there. He created Voilà to satisfy "the need for better quality fresh baked products." Is this true? I don't know. I can find no other information about Kitchens outside the Voilà site. But it would be ironic and funny if it were.