Rediscovering L.A.’s Croissant King in France

Noubar is a bed and breakfast in France.
Photo: Berryman Family

Maison Giraud, the French Restaurant that was located on Swarthmore in Pacific Palisades, was known for its croissants.

A June 2012 L.A. Times (“Counter Intelligence: Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades”) noted, “Maison Giraud has great French toast — brioche made simultaneously crisp and puddingy — and an omelet filled with ham, onions and potatoes that splits the difference between lumberjack breakfast and Lyon, but it is those croissants — and the raisin rolls, apricot tarts and pain au chocolat fashioned from the same dough — that make it worthwhile getting up before 10 a.m. There are Palisadians who might consider nominating pastry chef Noubar Yessayan for sainthood. There are others who blame him for those stubborn last 3 pounds.”

Earlier Yessayan’s croissants had received a “shoutout in” a 2010 L.A. Weekly story, (“99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die”), “I finally realized the crisply intense breakfast pastry’s ultimate purpose: not as a mere accompaniment to a café au lait and not just to showcase the chocolate, but as the ultimate expression of the gamy, slightly tart roundness of cultured butter. At such times is one’s soul exposed to God.”

Yessayan had even been dubbed “Croissant King of Los Angeles” by Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for the Los Angeles Times, along with fellow Times critics Russ Parsons, Betty Hallock, and Noelle Carter.

Then he seemed to disappear from the L.A. restaurant scene.

The Berrymans, Palisades residents, rediscovered the chef, when they booked a stay at Noubar in Cenevieres, France. The bed and breakfast is owned by Yessayan and his spouse Bernard Vandeuren.

To their delight they were served Yessayan’s fabulous pastries.

“When my mom was ill, she would only eat his blueberry croissants,” Berryman  remembered. During the couples stay in France,  “There were eggs fresh from their hens with breakfast.”

And of course, there were the croissants, which Berryman proclaimed, “breakfast deliciousness.”

Croissants were served at Noubar.
Photo: Berryman Family

At Noubar, “Our experience was positive and delicious,” Berryman said. “They were gracious hosts and were even able to tell me the best sights to see in the area and where to have the best food. They helped with dinner reservations at local restaurants.”

Guests Jude Law and Bradly Adams wrote this recommendation: “whilst pretty and comfortable this small hotel makes you feel as if you are a personal guest of the couple who own it  . . .the icing on the pasteries (literally) is the food. We had two evening meals and two breakfasts and couldn’t remember eating food like it for a long, long time. The croissants are probably the best you will ever have, whilst the fresh poached eggs that come from the chickens that gently peck around your table as you look out over the lawn to the vegetable garden from where most of the ingredients come, is to die for.”

The Noubar manor is located in the UNESCO worldwide geopark “Causses du Quercy” and located near the villages of Saint-Cirq Lapopie, Cajarc and the medieval towns of Cahors and Figeac.

Traveling in the winter of 2019/2020, the couple were in France when Covid. “We decided to make it our permanent home,” Vandeuren said in an October 25 email to CTN.

Yessayan was born in Beirut and moved to LA after receiving his green card. “My plan was to go to Le Cordon Bleu and become a chef, but halfway through culinary school I decided I didn’t want to be a savory chef at a restaurant,” said Yessayan. “I knew I wanted to make bread,” he said in a 2018 interview for Patch (Pastry Chef Noubar Yessayan Jonis the Lucques Group Restaurantss”)

After graduating Le Cordon Bleu, Yassayan, who speaks English, French, Arabic and Armenian fluently joined the culinary staff at Bastide in West Hollywood. Shortly after, he worked with Chef Alain Giraud at Anisette Brasserie and Maison Giraud.

“Noubar does miss the Palisades and would be happy to welcome Palisadians in our house,” Vandeuren wrote CTN on October 25.

Chef Noubar Yessayan (left) and his spouse Bernard Vandeuren (right) welcome actor Jude Law to their home in France.
Photo: Courtesy Noubar

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