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Here we are, we just finished to set up the "Cafe" this morning. Big step for us. Simple furniture I transformed or repainted in order to give them a better look. Curtains stiched by needed ladies as what we do here is always keeping in mind that it can help someone.
Salim is very excited by the Cafe. He is in training with me for the last 2 weeks and honnestly? I cannot eat a piece of Tea Cake anymore as I have tried so many to be sure we will get the perfect recipe ;-).
We have decided to start with 4 items to be proposed in the Cafe.
- Tea Cake Ginger and Lemon
- Chocolat fondant from Grand Mie
- Crepes (Sugar - Lemon - Chocolate)
- Paesh Cinnamon (which is the bangla name for Riz au lait or Milky Rice)

We also offer
- Coffee
- Tea
- Ginger, Lemon, Honey Tea
- Fresh Orange Juice
- Fresh Apple Juice
- Fresh Mango Juice
- Fresh Pineapple Juice
and of course 7 Up, Coke and water ;-))
The Coffee and Tea will be served with one of our homemade Ginger cookies

I will also cook some items people can take home as for example an Onion, Raisin Chutney I just made yesterday.

Chez Flo has already 3 trainees who are really looking forward to improve their skills!
Bon appetit!



That's the name of the Company and it means Responsible Business Bangladesh. We just got the approval from the Joint Stock which is a kind og Government Name Bank. You have to go through this process before starting any paper. RBBA is ours now and I am really happy.
Under RBBA we will have Chez Flo and Cafe Flo of course but also an hospitailty recruitment company. That's the core of the business. The idea is to source qualified staff or staff with potential, select them, interview them and do the liaison with some renowned hotel in Dubai who apply a real politic of social responsability for their employees. That's what I call Responsible. Chez Flo and Cafe Flo will be at the same time, free of charge, a training platform for those who need a help in order to get some skills.
We have already a trainee in Bakery and an office assistant who are working with us.
I received around 20 cvs of experienced people who are willing to go. I know some of you will tell me that if I send the best of the profession, the country will loose its expertise. I don't think this way as those people are stuck in their jobs for the last 10 years and do not give a chance to the young generation to have a job as the turnover is not important enough yet! I also hope in a very near future, I will be able to provide good people to the Bangladesh hospitality industry meaning that this sector will be in big development.
Tomorrow morning is a big time for the Baker trainee as I have a meeting with l'Alliance francaise in order to discuss around some "samples" the possibility to provide cakes for their Cafe ;-)))
9pm already and just finished my last meeting. Need to rest as I will start at 6am to cook with him!


Bed sheets & Curtains

This title seems simple when you live in some "easy parts of the world" but for me here, simple things turns to nightmares. One full day from 9am to 7pm just to go and find the right fabric to do my bed sheets and the curtains. Of course you can find ready made bad sheets but I don't think that big flowers and Winnie the Poo will look nice Chez Flo ;-). So, I went all the way to old Dhaka where you find the fabric market! what an adventure... Crazy traffic, very hot and humid day in this so busy area.


Then we went to the New Market to find matresses and pillows... After bargaining and sweating like crazy, I came back home exhausted but happy ;-)


First Cake

After trying a first receipie this morning and not so happy about the result, I decided not to give up and tried again this afternoon. But this time, NOT ALONE....
3 helpers came to the kitchen! 2 guys supposed to help today to paint some chairs and tables, one who will be my cook helper soon and Sultan who will help me in the office. Interested by the noise and the smell coming from the kitchen they stopped what they were doing and join me ;-) 5 minutes later Parul, the house keeper was also standing there, apparently very interested by learning how to bake a french cake!.
Well, everyone participated but I told the boys that they had to respect Flo's kitchen rules meaning if they cook..... They clean ;-))))) What gave a big laugh to Parul ;-)
We ended with a nice Pineapple cake a little bit flat for my taste but extremely tasty. That's what I call a teamwork ;-))


Tomorrow we attack the pumpkins !


A day out in a farm

I met through my business contacts a lovely gentleman. He could be my father by his age and just took me under his wing. He is indian but Bangladeshi for 50 years now. He has built a very successful business in different sectors and the latest one is an organic farm.
We just went there today. Very hot day but we spent a lovely time in the fresh air of the house and as soon as the tempeture allowed us, we went to do as we say in french "the landlord Tour". He is growing fruits and vegetables. Mangos, Plums, Jack fruits, but is also trying strawberries (quite a challenge to acclimate them here) and some Thai cherries which do not really taste like ours but I was happy to try.
Then , we came back to Dhaka and he gave 4 pumpinks! My god, what am I going to do with all those pumpkins. So I decided to start cooking tonight for the first time. Simple one, just to test myself ;-). I just cooked a piece of in milk and water to make it soft then added salt pepper, ginger and cinammon and I had my lovely dinner after mixing it as a "puree" ;-)
Well I think I will need to find receipes on internet now to cook the rest tomorrow... Any idea? ;-)



As promised, first Pix

Here it is, I took the first pictures this morning.
It is just the beginning so please be indulgent ;-)))






SUVO NABO BORSHO.... which means HAPPY NEW YEAR! No, you are not dreaming, today the 14th of April is the bangladeshi New Year! Families went out for nice lunch and the tradition is that you have to wear new cloth. So Dhaka was so colourful today with all those beautiful and new saries ;-). Noppp, I did not get one as I do not wear saries, just the traditional 3 pieces but I promise, I will show you that soon ;-)

14:10 Posted in Chez Flo | Permalink | Comments (0)

The new house


I moved couple of days ago in the new house. We managed to get one room ready at least to put my suitcases. Again a new place but a nice one now. Many things to do but it is moving forward. I manage my days by getting the renovation going on which is quite a challenge as I want to get the best but spending some time with the workers and asking again and again seems to work.
The house was previously a kindergarten and I can confirm that the kids looovvveee to paint the walls ;-)). We had to repaint the full house and change most part of the sanitary. As I said previously everything is difficult in Bangladesh but everything is possible, even getting back an old dirty bathroom is a clean proper place without changing everything ;-)
Now we are in the phase of finishes and that’s where I need to be constantly on the back of everyone as I don’t think we have the same definition of “finishes”!
What a lesson of patience for me especially with the language and cultural barrier…
But as I don’t want to spend my full time doing only renovation, I manage to get business meetings at least twice a day. I have met already a good number of people learning more about what is happening in Dhaka and Bangladesh.
I went to see Partenaire, a French NGO in order to have another idea of how another personal initiative was happening.
They take care of street children, begging to get couple of Taka. Partenaire takes them from the street and give them a chance to study on daily basis or join the boarding school. Very basic settings for this project if I compare to the sophistication of TDP I was collaborating with. Classes are taking place on the floor as they have only desks for one room. Then, in the evening, mattress and blankets are displayed to change the classroom in dormitory.
The kids are healthy, getting good food and a first aid center provides the basic medication needed. Staff, as usual, is multi tasked and dedicated to the children like a real family.
I met Radia and Melanie, two French volunteers who will leave in May after 6 months of contract. We spent a great time discussing about the project, the challenges and also the NGO community of Dhaka. They met a lot of people and gave me extremely useful advice and contacts.
I met also the Embassy Trade commission reprensetative who gave me also good information. I spent some time at l’Alliance francaise who welcomed my project with enthusiasm as they say there is no nice place to chill out in Dhaka with a freash juice and a good “gateau au chocolat”.
Also, I heard that they just opened a branch in my area and are looking for new teachers… Let see, maybe I will be one of those ;-)
Day by day the project is getting more clear in my head and each time the people I meet confirm that I am moving in the right direction.
Chez Flo and Café Flo are going to be the center point of the Responsible Business I want to develop here especially in providing skilled and semi skilled people abroad for the hospitality industry.
The country is growing and it seems quite promising but at the moment, the economy is difficult especially with the problem of the nonstop raise of the rice price.
A kilo of rice is today 42 taka when it was 38 couple of weeks ago and people are worried it will go up again. It’s because there is a shortage of stock explained in different ways by different people…
Bangladesh is composed by 95% of very poor people with a daily average income of 100 to 150 taka. You can easily do the calculation of the crisis when you see the price of the rice…
A lot of Bangladeshi see the only hope in finding a job abroad and this business is bringing a tremendous income to the country as the workers are sending 90% of their salary back to the country.
Today, what I want to do is to focus on the “niche” of supplying people only for hospitality. In couple of days, just talking to the right people, I have already some candidates ready to apply or who would like to.
So, Chez Flo and Café Flo is going to be a “live training platform” for those people who want to get a better chance to go to work for some prestigious hotel chains in decent and fair conditions....
I have managed to get a Pastry and Bakery trainee already. He will spend one month with me, working on the set up of the Café, sharing recipes and improve basic skills in Café management. With the help of a friend, we will provide free classes in the evening for English (oriented hospitality), hygiene and social behavior in a hospitality environment. If I get a partnership with a computer company, I will give some basic computer classes as how to use word, excel and emails.
Tomorrow, I promise I put more pictures ;-))

13:30 Posted in Chez Flo | Permalink | Comments (3)


Welcome Chez Flo

Welcome Chez Flo, the new blog telling the adventures of Flo in Bangladesh.
First of all, some basic news. I just arrived couple of days ago and until the house is ready, I stay in a guest house let say... just clean! I am writing right now from what they call the business center which is just a computer and a chair behain a dark bow window...
Anyway, here I am, starting this new adventure, in a new country with new people. Thanks god I have people supporting me, believing in me because I can tell you that when I am alone at night in my room surrounded by my life in 8 suitcases, it's good to think of you all.


I need to adapt myself to this new culture as everything takes mucccchhhhhh morrreeee time. I think it's an excellent school of patience. I believe the most difficult for me at the moment is to stay in this guest house. But at least I have a real benchmark experience ;-). I can tell you that I will do much better!

For those who just arrived here, what is Chez Flo? Chez Flo is a "Responsible Guest house" welcoming tourists, travellers and volunteers who come to Dhaka for business, as a stop over or to spend some time as volunteers in the surrounding NGOS. Chez Flo is the starting point of Responsible Business that Florence will develop in Bangladesh. This country has an amazing development potential and the human resources necessary to operate a really soon take off. It needs ideas, training and a small financial input to do so and that's where all of us are involved.

For proof the meeting I had this morning with the Managing Director of a Branding Company who is working with the Chamber of Commerce on "how to brand Bangladesh". I am very excited by the idea to participate to couple of workshops just to add my input in term of branding knowledge and also by the fact that we spent 3 hours sharing ideas and opinions about responsible business and changes that will occur in the country in the next 3 years.

This morning I found someone sharing the same ideas and it makes me feel much less lonely ;-))

Regarding the renovation of Chez Flo, the work is in progress. Painting of one room is complete, we just bought the beds and fans. We will negotiate the AC tonight as it's a huge budget... Now we are working on how to set up the Home Cafe to give it a friendly and simple feeling. It will be a mix of French and Bangladeshi. I have some pictures but I am worried to show them to you right now because you will say I am crazy (even if I have to be a little bit to start this new adventure ;-))) I prefer to wait couple of days in order to give you a "Before" "After" feeling ;-

Please do not consider the design of this blog definitive as I am struggling with Photoshop right now in order to create the banner and harmonious colors.

A special standing ovation for Mariam who designed the logo even if it is not the final one ;-)) she is extremely talented and if anybody in Dubai is looking for a great young Emirati lady to join a creative team, I definitively recommend her. For any details, please contact me ;-))

09:50 Posted in Chez Flo | Permalink | Comments (12)