Going with the Dough: A UTSA student’s most edible creation

Credit vicentecardenas4

Photo Credit: Vincente Cardenas

While most students stress over midterms and exams, Taylor Becken ponders the most existential question of all — What makes a French croissant a French croissant?

“We actually spent three months developing a croissant recipe, just researching what makes a croissant recipe a croissant recipe, why people like them,” says Becken. “Then we decided what was the strength of each recipe and added that all together to make one solid recipe.”

Becken is the owner and founder of C’est La Vie Baking Co., a bakery that specializes in French-style pastries, muffins, cookies, Danishes and fruit tarts among other treats. Becken manages the popular bakery along with help from his family and friends. “My parents are incredibly supportive. Somehow I’ve conned them into helping me out,” Becken jokes.

The name, C’est la Vie, provides a tongue-in-cheek take on the phrase “stuff happens.”

“Essentially, that’s the translation of it. So since we obviously can’t say (stuff) happens, we chose C’est La Vie,” laughs Becken. “It’s the more appropriate version of it more or less.

“It’s just kind of the theme of a lot of what we’re doing while we’re going through it and kind of the whole reason the bakery ended up opening.”

Just as Becken’s pastries rise in the oven, so has his fan base in the local farmers market scene.

C’est la Vie currently operates at The Rim Farmers Market in San Antonio and the New Braunfels Farm to Market on Saturdays and Sundays respectively.

Becken comments that some of his professors frequently visit his booth at the The Rim Farmers Market, which is within a five-minute drive from the UTSA Main Campus.

Becken is also expecting his storefront to open soon in the Castle Hills area. Until then, he bakes at a leased space. He hopes that his new space will provide room to expand C’est La Vie’s menu to other delicacies such as French breads and possibly deli sandwiches.

“I don’t enjoy baking at home that much. I like the intensity of doing it in a shop when you have deadlines; it’s just an adrenaline rush, which is really weird to say,” says Becken.

Some regular menu items include a blueberry cream-cheese Danish, an almond croissant sprinkled with powdered sugar and a spinach pesto croissant.

Becken opts to use seasonal organic ingredients for his desserts with some fruits from various farmers markets featured in his creations.

Becken’s previous baking experience at Sol y Luna Bakery led him to venture into opening his own business. In November 2012, Becken began attending farmers markets after experimenting with the art of French-style pastry baking.

“I worked for another bakery during the summer. I really enjoyed the baking side of things, but I didn’t necessarily get to do a lot of baking,” says Becken. “I’ve always kind of baked I guess, not to this extent obviously.”

On top of a busy college schedule at UTSA, Becken commits over 80 hours a week to preparing desserts, developing new recipes, baking and driving to each farmers market. Becken’s week begins as soon as the Saturday market wraps up. “I’m at the market all day and then bake at night,” says Becken.

When Becken manages to find free time he likes to go running, hiking and rock-climbing, a hobby that landed him in the rock climbers club at UTSA. One of Becken’s most intriguing hobbies happens to be swing dancing — he was even in the short-lived Swing Dancing club at UTSA.

Now, though, Becken just “goes with the dough.”

For more information on C’est La Vie, visit cestlaviebakingco.com or find them online at www.facebook.com/CestLaVieBakingCo.

{Correction, as of Nov. 12, 2013}

In “Going with the Dough,” published in Issue I 2013, The Paisano incorrectly reported that Taylor Becken is a full-time UTSA student. He is currently unenrolled at UTSA, but does plan to return within the next year. The Paisano regrets this error.