Part of the charm of the delightful new boulangerie and patisserie Just Teddy in the Hyde Park Corner shopping centre, Joburg, is the story behind it.

It’s owned and run by a French Lebanese family, the Zakis. Teddy was their much-loved grandfather, who stowed away on a ship with his father and sisters years ago to come to SA. In rags and riches, over decades of ups and downs, he went from selling manure to being a big-time horse racing trainer. The family also went into property in the south of Joburg.

With chairs and tables spilling out into the communal area on the bottom floor of the mall, Just Teddy feels a bit like something you might find in an arrondissement of Paris where you might swing by for a quick coffee and baguette.

Teddy jnr is this generation’s patriarch, and the store’s resident chef. He was a runner-up in The Great South African Bake Off, which aired on DStv’s BBC Lifestyle channel in 2015.

Insistent from an early age that his real love was baking, Teddy would even skip school to stay home and rustle up something in the kitchen with his sisters. He went into the family property business, but it never really ignited the fire that patisserie did; it was always his dream to open a French-style bakery.

Before taking the leap and opening this new suburban space, he’d been making classic pastries for The Sheds @1Fox market in the Joburg CBD for a few years, and was supplying artisanal breads to tashas and Bootlegger.

Teddy’s son Jeff (whose middle name is, of course, also Teddy) studied hospitality and has a deep love for baking too. "It calms my soul," says the engaging 25-year-old who, with his sister Jordyne, is running the place. She’s also a qualified pastry chef, and studied in Paris for a while.

It’s clear the Zaki clan is tight. "If I don’t have my family, I have nothing in the world," says Jeff, who refers to himself as "the glue" of the Just Teddy outfit.

Everything the shop sells is home-made; no pre-mixes are used and the butter that goes into the delectable offerings is imported from France. They won’t sell bread that’s been on the shelf too long on the day either, donating it to charity instead.

The current bestseller on the menu is the fig and pistachio cake, though chef Teddy says apple crumble has a special place in his heart because it was the first pastry he ever made.

Just Teddy is open from 7am to 7.30pm.

justteddy.co.za