Apollonia Poilâne


May 24 : What does it mean to inherit and carry on a beloved, legendary lineage such as Poilane Boulangerie? And what of the sudden, tragic circumstances that complicated the transition and ascension beyond imagining? And how does one continue to build upon, and even reinvent, this noble brand as it moves into its future. All of this and more will be discussed in a conversation with New York Times and James Beard Award-winning food writer, Kim Severson. 

Born in 1984,

Granddaughter of Pierre Poilâne, founder in 1932 of the Poilâne bakery. 
Daughter of Lionel Poilâne (Baker) and Ibu Poilâne (Designer).
University education: Harvard College, USA (BA, 2007)
Occupation: Baker. President of SAS Poilâne since November 2002
Business address: Poilâne Bakery, 8 rue du Cherche Midi, Paris 75006.
Member: Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat.

Publications: Contributed to: Supplique au Pape, Editions Anne Carrière, 2003. Le Pain par Poilâne, Editions du Cherche-Midi, 2005, texts by Lionel and Apollonia Poilâne. Contributed to: Pains, Transformations et Recettes, Hachette Pratique, 2009, by Julien Madérou. Ceci n’est pas un livre pour faire du pain, Editions de l’Epure, 2011 by Apollonia Poilâne and Nathaly Nicolas-Ianiello. Du Pain et des Mots, Editions du Cherche-Midi, 2011. Sourdough bread, ten ways to prepare it, Editions de l’Epure, 2014 Brioche, ten ways to prepare it, Editions de l’Epure, 2014 Poilâne Punitions ®, ten ways to prepare them, Editions de l’Epure, 2014 Poilâne’s Rye Bread, Ten Ways to Prepare It, Editions de l’Epure, 2015 Poilâne’s Pain de Mie, Ten Ways to Prepare It, Editions de l’Epure, 2015 Poilâne’s Walnut Loaf, Ten Ways to Prepare It, Editions de l’Epure, 2015 Poilâne’s Rye and Raisin Bread, Ten Ways to Prepare It, Editions de l’Epure, 2015 POILÂNE, the secrets of the world-famous famous bread bakery, HMH New York, 2019. POILÂNE, des Grains aux Pains, La Fabrique de l’Epure, 2020.

Professional experience: Apollonia Poilâne is the third generation to run the bakery founded in 1932 by her grandfather in the Saint -Germain-des-Pres district of Paris, and developed both in France and internationally by her father Lionel Poilâne.

Cradled in a bread basket by the passion that her father vowed to his craft, Apollonia naturally chose her path. She feeds her own passion by learning and working in the bakery on the Rue du Cherche-Midi, where her father also learned his trade. Following the accidental death of IBU and Lionel Poilâne in 2002, Apollonia and her sister Athena ensure the continuity of the family business.

From 2003 to 2007, Apollonia presided over the company while studying economics in Boston.Apollonia fully adheres to her father’s philosophy: favor quality over quantity. She is also a worthy successor to the "retro-innovation" culture dear to Lionel Poilâne: take the best of the past and combine it with the best of the present. Apollonia has not changed the manufacturing methods. 88 years after the founding of the bakery, Poilâne ® breads are always leavened, handmade and baked over a wood fire.

At the same time, Apollonia is resolutely turned towards the future. Since she took the business over, Apollonia opened 2 more boutiques in Paris and in 2011 a second UK address. The introduction of new products (Gingerbread, Spoon Shaped Butter Cookies, Granola, Pepper Bread, Buns, Yule Logs, Cornbread, Grain Flour Biscuits...), and the development of the dealer network, in France and abroad, testify to the will of Apollonia to move forward.

Kim Severson is a national food correspondent for the New York Times covering food trends and news across the United States. She was previously the New York Times Atlanta bureau chief and, before that, a staff writer for the Dining section of The Times. Her first full-time food writing job was with the San Francisco Chronicle. She also spent seven years as an editor and reporter at the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. Before writing about food, she covered crime, education, social services and government for daily newspapers on the West Coast.

Severson won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for her contributions to the team that investigated sexual harassment and abuse against women. She has also won four James Beard awards and the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for her work on childhood obesity. 

She has written four books, “The Trans Fat Solution," “The New Alaska Cookbook," a memoir called “Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life,” and, in 2012, "Cook Fight!" a collaborative cookbook with fellow New York Times food writer Julia Moskin.