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About Patisserie Van Lith

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When I learned to make marzipan figures and bavarois as a child with my grandfather Adrianus, it was not only the techniques that fascinated me, but especially the stories he told me about his youth and his work as a baker in his father's bakery in Etten Leur (North Brabant). As the eldest son in a family with 4 children, he was expected to continue the bakery, so he went to boarding school to the confectioner's training in Voorhout (near Leiden). Even though he retired from the bakery trade after his marriage, he remained incredibly proud of what he had learned and continued to master the techniques. I was lucky to be able to learn from him, to make marzipan figures, pies, bavarois, etc. I will never forget the countless times we looked at the photos of his education and his graduation project.

A brief history:

Initially my ancestors were millers, among others in Rosmalen, Zevenbergsche Hoek and Leur. The last miller Adrianus van Lith (1799-1847) had 5 children from his 1st marriage, 1 of whom became a baker. From his 2nd marriage he had another 5 children, 2 of whom became bakers. Theo van Lith (1841-1877), the eldest son, even received a baker's training in Antwerp in 1862-1863 and then became a baker in Rotterdam. His brother Albertus van Lith (1845-1924) opened a bakery in Leur (North Brabant) in the spring of 1870, and he is my great-great-great-grandfather.

After him, the bakery passed on to the following generations: Adrianus van Lith (1873-1951), Jan van Lith (1906-1983), and my grandfather Adrianus van Lith (1935-2020).

The photo below from 1912 shows Albertus van Lith (right), Adrianus van Lith (left),

and Jan van Lith as 6 year old (links) 

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I decided at a young age that I wanted to go in the same direction. I became more and more eager to expand my knowledge and decided to follow the Hotel school direction at the PIVA in Antwerp. A few years later I realized that I ended up here because of my passion for baking. At the age of 15, I realized that I was missing some practice and I decided to switch to SYNTRA to start with an Apprenticeship. After my apprenticeship at Bakkerij Van Baelen, I went to Domestic in Zurenborg.

Before I started my international adventure, there was one part I had little experience with. Chocolate. In my next year in Syntra, I worked at Chocolatier Burie, and in the last year, I graduated with Chocolatier Joost Arijs in Ghent.

After all these years of working for bakers, patissiers and chocolatiers, I knew what my next challenge was. I wanted to get back into restaurant life. Through my former employer Domestic, I was able to work as a pastry chef in a hotel in a ski resort in the French Alps, where I stayed for two seasons. Then, I got a great challenge in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) to teach the local bakers of large catering businesses to make real French baguettes. Before going back to work in Antwerp, I worked for 10 months as a pastry chef in a restaurant in Porto Vecchio, Corsica.

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The best thing about patisserie is that you can be creative in so many areas. Especially when making desserts. That is why I will always keep busy and this will also be a part of Patisserie van Lith. 

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