Laos is a Piece of Cake – and Pizza

If you are in the vicinity of Vientiane and feel the urge for a cake and a pizza, you no longer need to do two stops thanks to the recently opened Scandinavian Pizza & Baking House in the middle of the Laotian capital. The new business is owned by the Swedish Wissmar family, who also owns the Scandinavian Bakery on the Fountain Square of the city. The 57 year old Sune Wissmar started the Scandinavian Bakery eleven years ago, but why open a pizza place?

  “The main reason is that my son Daniel, who has been working with me for five years wanted to have a place of his own. Another reason is that there is need here for a place serving really good pizzas,” Sune Wissmar says enthusiastically sitting in the office above his bakery. An office he shares with his son.

  “The pizzahouse is without a single doubt Daniel’s business, but we do share office and of course we do cooperate a lot.”

  Sune Wissmar opened the Scandinavian Bakery in Vientiane in 1994, but his career in the bakery industry started in 1963. Growing up outside Norköping in Sweden, he was offered a summer job with Docks Hovkonditori in Söderköping. When the summer ended Hugo Dock told him he was welcome back anytime.
  In 1964 Sune Wissmar finished school and the 16 year old boy did not really know what to do, so he called Dock a week before graduation asking for a job.

  “He asked me what time I graduated and I said the 16th of June. No, what time of the day? I said 10 or 11. Can you be here at 12 then? So after graduation I took my moped and drove the 18 kilometres and just made it before noon, and it has been busy like that ever since 1964,” Sune Wissmar laughs.

  He was a trainee for four years working in three different bakeries wanting to try as much different as possible.

  After doing his military service in 1969, he worked for different bakeries in the Stockholm area for a number of years. In 1977 he went with his wife Inger to USA on a holiday. Sune Wissmar was offered a job in California and the family moved across the pond in 1978, but after one and half years the family returned.

  “Being in America was a nice experience and I still love to go there on vacation, but I do not want to be a part of that society. It is a sick country. Every day you can read on the milk cartons that some kid got kidnapped, and we did not want to raise our kids in a society, where we did not feel safe,” he says. On the wall behind him hangs a photo of Elvis.

  Returning to Sweden did not mean that Sune Wissmar had to look high and low for a new job. He went back to the bakery he worked in before going to America. Sune Wissmar worked there till 1983, when the Wissmars went to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. His wife, Inger, worked in the Foreign Ministry and was offered a job at the Swedish embassy.

  Sune Wismar also worked for the embassy as a transport officer, but soon he got to be busier in his spare time than during work hours. Rumours about the Swedish pastry chef spread and a lot of people asked him to do cakes for receptions and weddings including the wedding of the daughter of the former president of Tanzania.

  In 1987 Inger’s contract expired and the family decided to go back to Sweden.

    Back in Sweden Sune Wissmar began studying to become a real estate agent graduating late 1992, but he has never used his education. Few months later Inger Wissmar was ready for a new contract with the Swedish Foreign Ministry. This time as second secretary at the Swedish Embassy in Laos. Being an optimistic person Sune Wissmar was sure he would find another job and he did not mind going abroad again. History repeated itself. Soon after having arrived in Laos the rumours about the Swedish pastry chef spread from one embassy to another and Sune Wissmar soon became busy. So busy that he decided to open the Scandinavian Bakery in September 1994. starting off with only him and two employees working there, but the success has just grown ever since. Today Sune Wissmar employs 30 people in Vientiane and 10 in the Luang Prabang branch.

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