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A career shift in the pursuit of a new challenge: to find the perfect gift

Georges Duverger tested 40 variations of recipes and thousands of cookies to perfect his final product, the Telegram Cookie.

Georges DuvergerCourtesy of Georges Duverger

Georges Duverger tested roughly 40 recipes and baked thousands of cookies to create what he calls “the perfect gift”: Telegram Cookies, shortbread cookies with customizable messages printed on the face. Duverger joined the 14-week, intensive Ready to Launch program at CommonWealth Kitchen in May, working alongside roughly 13 other entrepreneurs, who are primarily women, people of color, and immigrants, also developing their food businesses.

After advancing from roles in software engineering to head of product over a 15-year engineering career, Duverger sees owning a business as the next step.

Duverger, who moved from France in 2006 and now lives in Arlington, grew up with French traditional butter cookie Petit Beurre. In 2013, Shanty Biscuits started to stamp custom messages on the cookie, inspiring him to introduce the concept to the United States. Finding the right recipe, Duverger says, is like engineering. Over 10 months, Duverger finetuned the script by tweaking percentages of individual ingredients in 10 percent intervals, keeping the ingredients in one version of the recipe the same, and then adding, for example, 10 percent more flour or butter.

Duverger uses movable-type letters to print messages. Traditional messages like “Happy Birthday” are popular. During the height of the pandemic, customers ordered “Get well soon.” Some people ask for private jokes Duverger doesn’t understand. He eventually hopes to use 3D printing.

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New Year's cookiesCourtesy of Georges Duverger

“The first bite is on the crumbly, dryer side like Scotland’s Walker’s Shortbread,” Duverger said. “The aftertaste is going to be very buttery. After it crumbles, it starts to melt in your mouth and then you have this taste of butter that stays with you.” He says Americans are typically used to more sugary cookies, and that his cookies are different from what many are used to. After a few bites, though, “It gets pretty addictive.”

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Telegram Cookies packageCourtesy of Georges Duverger

After submitting hundreds of pages of documents, Duverger is waiting for his retail license from the Boston Inspectional Services Department, which he hopes to secure before the holiday season. Because he can’t sell cookies while waiting for the permit, a few hundred people pre-ordered their packages (which have eco-friendly wrapping). Duverger aims to ship these by the end of August.

“Maybe it’s an early mid-life crisis,” Duverger jokes of the career shift, but he says he has this internal sense that when he’s older, looking back on his life he’ll want to feel like he at least “tried stuff.”

Duverger said, “Even if it doesn’t work out, at the end of the program I would have started a food business. That’s kind of an interesting life experience that I’m excited to talk about when I’m 80 years old. I’m doing everything I can to make it successful, but it’s still worth it if it’s not.”

Telegram Cookies ships all over the United States. Check out their Instagram and TikTok.




Kajsa Kedefors can be reached at kajsa.kedefors@globe.com.