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Jean-Louis Hecht will go down in history as this generation’s greatest French thinker. It won’t be long before he’ll be mentioned in history books alongside the likes of Descartes, Voltaire, and Rousseau.OK, so we may be exaggerating here, but the man could be a certified genius. The crafty baker from northeast France has done something that generations of Frenchmen before him had only dreamed of: he invented a 24-hour fresh baguette dispenser.
A French culinary staple for centuries, the baguette has become nearly synonymous with dining in Paris. But you might be hard-pressed to find one after dark or during those famously long French holidays.
Americans hopping on flights to Paris this month may spend a large portion of their time just trying to locate an open bakery. Many of the 33,000 in France close during the popular French vacation month.
Enter the genius of Jean-Louis Hecht. Before closing his bake shop each evening, Hecht loads up a 24-hour baguette dispenser with partially-cooked loaves that finish cooking when paid for, ensuring a piping hot baguette is delivered to hungry patrons no matter the hour.
As you might expect, the baguettes, which cost 1 euro (about $1.42) have been selling like hotcakes. There are currently only two machines in France but Jean Louis thinks he may have single-handedly revolutionised France’s baking industry.
He expects the technology to spread and estimates that if sales continue at their current pace; his machines will have paid for themselves within a year.