‘Gastronomy is the art of using food to create happiness,’ reads the quote from the historian Theodore Zeldin posted in large letters over the shop display. And here at Maison Le Grand, happiness has not a little to do with pâtés. Freshly prepared as bouchée à la reine (‘queen’s morsels’) with mushroom filling, in a puff pastry shell. Or preserved in tins, with labels in as many colours as there are varieties: pâté de campagne (pork, country-style), pâté aux poivres (with pepper), pâté de canard (duck), pâté de lapin(rabbit), pâté á l’ail (with garlic) ... ‘We work in an old trade, but every day we have new ideas,’ rhapsodises chef Olivier Le Grand. Boucherie, charcuterie, traiteur – meats, sausages, catering. High-quality and regional. That’s what the name Le Grand stands for – and not only in Plonévez-Porzay, this hamlet of some 1,700 people in the département Finistère, on the Atlantic coast.
From foie gras to roast pork, Le Grand’s repertoire encompasses everything meat-lovers desire, including a variety of delicacies and niblets. The business, founded by Olivier’s grandfather in 1936, has been run by Olivier, 50, and his wife, Tiphaine, 45, for over 20 years now. Their products are a modern interpretation of the traditional French cuisine that inspires them. The ham, for example, so tender that it melts in one’s mouth, is still steamed in the 40-year-old oven that dates from Grandpa’s era. ‘Overnight, for at least twelve hours,’ Olivier explains. ‘And not too lean – otherwise, it’ll turn out dry.’
Delivery makes gastronomic life easier
100% of the meat that the Le Grands use comes from the region. They purchase additional ingredients from Pro à Pro. The METRO subsidary delivers items like couscous, rice, oil, vinegar, seasonings, chickpeas and peeled tomatoes to the business once a week. Olivier praises Pro à Pro for its ‘very good prices and outstanding quality.’ The delivery service makes gourmet life easier – with convenience, punctuality and reliability. As a general food provider, Pro à Pro supplies bulk purchasers especially, such as retirement homes, high schools, colleges, but also commercial catering such as caterers, brasserie-type restaurants, pizzerias. But in the delivery business, too, it comes down to personal contact, says regional sales manager David Belbeoch: ‘We work closely together and respond to their needs and wishes, at all times.’
Maison Le Grand’s catering service, through which Olivier, Tiphaine and their staff of 15 supply western Brittany, from Brest down to Quimper, makes up about half of the company’s revenue. The other half comes from sales in their store and at weekly markets. Belbeoch: ‘Maison Le Grand has a presence that extends far beyond Plonévez-Porzay.’ Not least because the business is so dedicated to what it does. Take the topic of sustainability, for instance. As chairwoman of the butchers’ association of the Finistère region, Tiphaine Le Grand promotes responsible economic management.
Through training courses and brochures, she seeks to support other food service professionals in working more sustainably. ‘We still have a long way to go,’ she says, ‘in part because many customers aren’t prepared to pay higher prices for more sustainable containers and packaging.’ But a gradual change of thinking is now taking place. ‘Caterers used to be very concerned with the appearance of the food and always tried to make it as opulent as possible,’ she explains. ‘Now there’s a growing awareness of how much waste that leads to.’ Her own business is certified as ‘environmentally responsible’. For their butcher’s products, the Le Grands only purchase whole animals. ‘We use everything,’ says Olivier. Innards, for example, are processed into andouille – smoked sausage in a natural casing, strongly seasoned and pickled in brine.
‘For us, this is paradise’
Like her husband, Tiphaine Le Grand comes from a butcher’s family. The couple and their two daughters, 13 and 16, live right at the seaside, in a settlement of fewer than a half-dozen houses. Outside of the camping season, life here is extremely tranquil. A broad beach stretches beneath the steep cliffs – fully deserted. ‘We really live here as if in a film,’ says Tiphaine. Would they consider going anywhere else? Never. ‘For us, this is paradise,’ she says. In Brittany, happiness has a number of ingredients: the ruggedly romantic landscape, the warmth of the people, the picturesque villages seemingly from another time. And a bit of pâté.
Delivery services for restaurateurs
Food Service Distribution, or FSD, is a central part of METRO’s multichannel offerings. The FSD business comprises, among other entities, the METRO delivery service and five specialist delivery companies: Classic Fine Foods in the UK, Asia and the United Arab Emirates, Pro à Pro in France, Rungis Express in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Aviludo in Portugal and Pro a Pro Spain on the Spanish mainland and in the Balearic and Canary Islands. With 2,400 employees, 22 logistical warehouses and over 1.5 million deliveries to 40,000 customers annually, Pro à Pro is currently the largest of METRO’s purely FSD companies. In total, METRO’s delivery sales accounted for a share of 21% in financial year 2021/22, with more than €6 billion (2020/21: 17%). The expansion of this business is one of the pillars of the corporate strategy sCore, with the goal of tripling FSD sales by 2030.