London's 'dream' French cake shops turn to nightmare for sacked staff

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Two years ago the French-owned Pâtisserie des Rêves opened two patisseries in London to considerable acclaim. “A cake shop like none other,” was how The Telegraph newspaper described one of the shops launched with the involvement of top French pastry chef Philippe Conticini. But just before Easter this year both stores closed abruptly and staff were not paid their final month's wages. Mathilde Goanec reports on the battle by the 22 former employees to get their money.

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On Wednesday March 23rd, they were still selling millefeuilles, orange tarts and St Honoré cakes in the well-heeled districts of Marylebone and South Kensington in London. But by evening on the following day - pay day - staff at the two branches of the highly-acclaimed Pâtisserie des Rêves had left the shops for the last time. The London venture of the exclusive French cake shop chain, co-founded by entrepreneur Thierry Teyssier and renowned pastry chef Philippe Conticini, had come to a sticky end, leaving 22 employees out of work and their last month's wages unpaid.