BOISE, Idaho — Many people may think of a Disney villain when they hear Gaston's, but many Treasure Valley residents likely think of bread and pastries.
The Boise Bench bakery Gaston's Bakery and Mill is a classic French bakery.
"I'm from Burgundy and I moved to Idaho in 2001 to open a French bistro. My family has been in the restaurant and hotel business in France for a few generations, at least since my great grandpa that I know of," Gaston's Bakery and Mill Owner Mathieu Choux said.
Within a year of his move, everything started falling into place for the new Idaho resident.
"I opened a restaurant called Cafe de Paris which was on Capitol Blvd. When I moved there, moved to Boise, I met my wife, we had two kids, decided to stay in Idaho, had a great time, and then grew the bakery. So Gaston's came a few years after the cafe," said Choux.
To be exact, it was 2006 that Gaston's Bakery opened up, and at the time, Choux had a handle on both businesses.
"The bakery was actually right below the cafe so it was quite easy to do both," said Choux.
That is until demand for his breads and pastries outgrew their small space, and he realized he couldn't easily do both anymore.
"It was time to choose for me where, in my heart, it was really into the baking and the bakery," said Choux.
After that tough decision he closed up shop on the cafe and went all-in with Gaston's.
"We had to relocate Gaston's from downtown to the Bench, and that's when we really started being able to handle quite a bit of the growth from the valley," said Choux.
Soon, Gaston's was selling their products to individuals, restaurants, and other distributors all over Idaho and neighboring states. But despite how popular they had become, Choux started hearing a scary phrase for bakeries and bread lovers alike — gluten intolerance.
"That brought a lot of questions for me. Wait a minute, that grain, that wheat that has been feeding civilizations for thousands of years is making us sick now. What's goin on?" he said.
After months of research and forming partnerships with Idaho farmers, they brought in their own mill and began making their own locally-sourced flour.
"That's really turned into a passion. Researching the grain, finding out how to make the cleanest, best, and most digestible baked goods that we can," said Choux.
Today, their reach is enormous, from restaurants to ski resorts, and even national parks.
"If you go to the Tetons in the summer, nine chances out of 10, you're eating Gaston's bread," said Choux.
Treasure Valley, don't worry. No matter how big they get, the bread and pastries aren't going anywhere.
"I love it. I love running the bakery, I love growing and the directions we're taking with taking with the milling and the wheat and I'm really looking forward to the next 20 years," exclaimed Choux.
To get more specific about the reach of their products, Gaston's sells their breads and pastries to over 180 local businesses, not including food distributors that work with additional restaurants. Customers can find them at their bakery on the bench, in both Boise farmers markets, and sometime this summer, a second location that will be opening in BoDo.