Virginia baker Rachel De Jong credits family and huge sweet tooth for success at Cou Cou Rachou

Rachel De Jong.png
Posted at 12:35 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 12:35:06-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Cou Cou Rachou bakery owner Rachel De Jong grew up in a large family in Charlottesville, Virginia. She credited her family with helping her discover her passion in the kitchen.

"I'm one of five children, so food was around a lot. When you're feeding seven people in the house, I was always in the kitchen, I was always watching my mom. But I had a huge sweet tooth," she said. "And of course, all my brothers always wanted cookies around. My mom preferred to do the cooking, baking not quite, so I just assumed the role and started baking all the time."

Her love of baking eventually landed her in school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France.

Rachel De Jong at Cou Cou Rachou
Rachel De Jong at Cou Cou Rachou

Stints at Baker's Palette and Gearharts Fine Chocolates in Charlottesville came next, followed by the opportunity to work with Chef Patrick O'Connell at The Inn at Little Washington.

Over her four years at the Inn, De Jong's kitchen experience grew.

"The pastry department was baking for the gift shop, baking the cookie boxes for the favor, the little cute Inn boxes, doing things for room service. Very often, we had VIPs in the kitchen and dessert was one of chef's go-to's to make them feel welcome and special and change up their dinner," she said. "He never liked for people to get the same thing every time, he liked to surprise them. So dessert was often one of those ways that he would do that."

Then, after launching her baking concept during the pandemic, De Jong opened Cou Cou Rachou in November 2021.

Rachel De Jong at Cou Cou Rachou
Rachel De Jong at Cou Cou Rachou

Listen to Eat It, Virginia to hear Rachel De Jong share how she chooses ingredients for her croissants and pastries, what it's like working before the sun rises, and how Julia Child inspires her to this day. This episode is sponsored by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture and its new exhibit Julia Child: A Recipe For Life.

EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews



Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.