Bessèges: Khalid Konate or the noble art of pastry in the struggle for employment

Khalid Konate, former boxer and pastry chef by training, the creator of unity and professional activities that combine sports and training, completes the city stadium project.

A thousand pages. A venerable old rolling mill sits in a corner of Khalid Konaté’s lab. In the expert hands of a pastry chef, he shapes the pastry dough, which is assembled in mil-feuiles, which best symbolizes the professional project he created in 2017. Some might say adventure. After the renovation of a disused building with a gym and pastry laboratory on the site of the former foundry of Bessèges, the site offers a unique double offer combining association (La maison Bessèja) and professional activity (LK, LK) in the Cévennes. The house of the master confectioner). “At first, young people came to the gym to learn English boxing and kickboxing, and they asked me to make a cake for their birthday. So the project was to welcome young people, show them all kinds of professions, and prove to them that everything is possible. Here we learn to live together. , but the offer is wider, because this professional and social aspect is complemented by the sports aspect. Sometimes it is difficult for some to understand, “smiles Khalid Konate.

I’m a boxer, everyone in my family is a boxer, and I’ve learned that you get knocked down, you get up

On the ground floor, the sweet-tea room created with his wife Céline is open to the public on weekends, while the gym on the upper floor is entrusted to elder brother Chou Ai Bou Konate. A Vovinam master and former coach of the French team at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP), the latter develops the sports aspect of the project for young people in residences, as are the 180 members of the latter association. A large community of social centers where special training is offered. So, from 7 to 77 years in total, floor mats and punching bags see the parade of spectators, where the project for the future city stadium will offer a wider range of activities. All this spoils the image of an area often associated with economic decline in Bessèges. “I work alone and I take time to take care of people and there’s always a return,” said Khalid Konate. I never gave up on this project. All the work was done without subsidy and sometimes I thought it was crazy. But I’m a boxer, everyone in the family is a boxer, and I’ve learned that if you fall, you get back up. The purpose of the game is to fight. welcome.” A desire whose motivations are always combined with an entrepreneurial spirit. development on the issue of living well, sharing around a table. “We have our own mill and make our flour with red beard and touselle wheat. It’s just awesome. But the future is to buy land in Besseges to produce our own cereals. “One more seed, like a word. for the future.

“A pastry chef? It was the children who made pancakes in Segpada.

“The pastry chef was the guys making the pancakes in the segpa.” When Khalid Konate recalls our thoughts about the students of the pastry department twenty years ago, we experience a kind of giddiness. Today, pastry chefs are bursting onto the screen, sometimes appearing at the top of a booming activity and with a vengeance. He was born in Villepinte, with Malian roots, Khaled Konate, took to his heels thanks to his pastries. A flight board that will take him to nearly two dozen countries. Argentina, Norway, USA, Morocco, Ireland, Monaco, Egypt, Qatar, United Arab Emirates… The list goes on to England, where finding one’s spouse sounds like a return to France. Exactly in Nimes. Khalid Konate retains his sense of adventure from years of experience. Updated daily. “I never bake the same cake,” laughs the pastry chef. In the morning, a farmer brings me apples, and I make something with apples! Etc…” Proud of his candy machine, a slightly worn-out rolling mill, the former heavyweight boxer appreciates the physical contact with his home-built machines. It’s as if a piece of his generous soul slipped at the root of his colorful creativity.
L&K, home of the master pastry chef, 37 rue du Docteur Paul Vermale in Bessèges. Open Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 to 13:15. Contact: Céline 06 50 72 53 70

Association La maison Bessèja, 37, rue du Dr Vermale in Bessèges. Contact: 06 11 34 69 31.

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