On Saturday, July 16, Andre Chin — baker and co-owner of Artisan Boulanger Patissier in South Philly — died at age 65 after battling prostate cancer for seven years. His passing was announced in a sign pasted to the window of the shop on Mifflin Street, which read in part, “He would have wanted all of you to know that the people who enjoyed the pastries and breads of Artisan Bakery for the past 20 years meant everything to him.”
The bakery was a must-visit Philly destination for its French pastries, baguettes, and small menu of breakfast sandwiches and banh mi. Chin was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago, but his health declined in 2021. That same year, Chin’s wife and bakery co-owner Amanda Eap was diagnosed with breast cancer, which inspired a local customer to start a GoFundMe to cover healthcare costs for the couple, raising over $100,000.
Over the weekend, the Inquirer reported the story of how Chin and Eap met:
A native of Cambodia, at age 15 he fled the war raging in Southeast Asia and landed in France, where he studied cooking and baking in Paris. He was working at a Paris hotel in the 1980s when, during a visit to Philadelphia, he walked into the West Philadelphia doughnut shop owned by Eap’s father.
“I think he fell in love with me the minute he saw me,” Eap said. “I saw him walk in and said, ‘What a good-looking Korean guy.’ Then I found out he was Cambodian.”
Mr. Chin returned to France, but they courted long-distance. Eap said he proposed and she flew to Paris to marry him in 1990. She sponsored him for U.S. citizenship three months later, and they settled in South Philadelphia, where they raised sons Nicholas, 28, a pharmacist, and Ryan, 22, a student. “We have never been apart since,” she said.
The couple opened the bakery in 2002, eventually moving to its current location on Mifflin Street in 2013, where a devoted following grew for Chin and Eap’s remarkable French pastries. “He enjoyed seeing everyone who came in and ate what he baked, and he was incredibly thankful for the people who supported him until the very end,” the sign announcing Chin’s passing read.
The bakery will remain closed until further notice while Chin’s family mourns.