Popular Pittsburgh Pastry Chef May Be Sent Back to France
David Piquard learned earlier this month that his immigration status was in jeopardy.
David Piquard has been crafting delicate French pastries and macarons at Gaby et Jules in Squirrel Hill for nearly six years, but unless his temporary visa can be extended, he, his wife and two children will be forced to return to France in April.
Earlier this month, Piquard was informed that his application for an immigrant visa was rejected by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Piquard has lived and worked in Pittsburgh since 2011 on a temporary H1-B work visa that allows U.S. companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations. The visa disqualifies his wife and children from seeking employment.
“We cannot go forward without the green card,” says Piquard.
Piquard first came to Pittsburgh in 2004 with hopes of opening a pastry shop, but had to move back to France. Seven years later in 2011, Piquard returned to the U.S. as the pastry chef at Paris 66 in East Liberty. A year later, Piquard opened Gaby et Jules in Squirrel Hill and has since expanded downtown in Market Street Grocery, the Whole Foods in Pine and a kiosk at Pittsburgh International Airport.
“It’s not like I am stealing jobs,” Piquard told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I create jobs and and I teach others how to create high-end pastries.”
Piquard’s original immigrant visa application was filled with mention of awards and recommendation letters totalling to 200 pages according to PG. Until April, Piquard says he will fight to find a way to stay. Already, he plans to reapply for a green card.
“We love Pittsburgh for welcoming us,” says Piquard. “I will continue to do my job and make people happy.”