On the occasion of women's rights day, on March 8, we met three entrepreneurs from Marais, in the field of chocolate, photography and metals.

Meeting with three remarkable women.

After working with big names in pastry and chocolate, Japanese Emiko Sano launched Les 3 chocolats, her chocolate boutique in Saint-Paul.

• What does the name “Les 3 chocolats” refer to?

With three types of chocolate: dark, milk and white. But also to the fact that, in our family, we have been chocolatiers and pastry chefs for three generations. My grandfather was, my father still is (in Japan) and here I am! Chocolate is my DNA.

• What is your “Japan touch”?

My team is Japanese, the techniques are Japanese, the flavors too: matcha, yuzu, mirin (rice wine), wasabi, kinako (roasted soya). These healthy ingredients go perfectly with chocolate. In addition, our cakes contain less sugar.

• Your experience ?

I worked as a pastry chef and chocolatier for Michalak and many other chefs in Paris and the provinces. I founded my store in the Marais three years ago.

• Are there many women in your profession?

No, 90% of chocolatiers are men, perhaps because it is partly forced work. However, women have a better palate than men, and a lot of dexterity.

In addition, the job of chocolate pastry chef is very demanding. It requires great availability. Even during the holidays, we work from seven in the morning until late at night.

In Japan, the majority of women stop their careers after marriage to devote themselves to their children. But in France, it's different.

• That is to say ?

I came here twelve years ago to learn pastry making because there is no better place than France for that. Previously, I was a saleswoman in my father's chocolate factory.

It was when I arrived here that I allowed myself to create my own chocolate business. What surprised me the most was the 35-hour law and the five weeks of vacation.

In Japan, the law provides for two weeks of paid vacation but few employees take it, for fear of being seen as lazy.

• As a woman, what obstacles have you encountered?

Everyone, even my ex-boyfriend, who is Japanese, told me that I wouldn't be able to do it, especially since at the start, I spoke French poorly.

My father also advised me to return to Japan. But I wanted at all costs to succeed in France; this is where I wanted to try creating my own recipes.

I managed on my own. Because starting a business in France is not easy. No bank gave me credit. But since the opening, the customers have been there, loyal, encouraging: 60% are locals, 20% are tourists and 20% are Japan lovers.

The three chocolates
45 rue Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris
Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 20 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Phone: 01 44 61 28 65

Text: Katia Barillot
Photos: ©Anaïs Costet



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