The only difference is that Zimmerman is a former instructor at Chicago's French Pastry School and today, he and his kids are running La Fournette Bakery, an attempt to recreate childhood taste memories from France, in Old Town.
"The process is the same, but we have to adapt all our recipes to the American ingredients, like the flour," said Zimmerman.
Breads dominate here and while much of the mixing and fermenting takes place in their large bakery on the Near West Side, they bake everything off here.
"So really the most popular here is the baguette of course and the croissant. But also there's sourdough bread called la miche la fournette and then some really French products like the macaron, croque monsieur, like the tarte flambee baguette. These are really, really authentically French," he said.
Even the seemingly simple things are done well here: a pain au chocolat as tender and delicate as anything from Europe; tiny macarons in a rainbow color of options; plus traditional snacks such as Crepes Suzette and filling beignets. Even a cookie becomes an impulse buy that will be hard not to touch in the car ride home.
"They come here for an experience, and we are here to give them real pleasure," he said.
Well if there is a problem with La Fournette, it's that there are too many things to choose from. Should you eat the sweets or just stick with the savory items? Here's the solution: take a little of Paris home with you.
The bakery also sells homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread, as well as a salted caramel spread, that are mandatory on any one of their 10 homemade breads.
La Fournette Bakery
1547 N. Wells St.