Hang in there because new developments are unfolding.
What is important in a pastry chef’s career?
To work in a place that you like. You don’t necessarily need to work in a famous establishment. Some smaller establishments do a great job too. It’s important to find a place you like. You don’t need to stick to the same place, but you don’t need to go through fifteen places either.
I only worked in three establishments, but I pretty much enjoyed where I worked and I learned plenty.
I’ve heard that many young people who graduate from bakery school don’t continue in the profession.
You really need to be patient and to persevere. Whatever happens, don’t give up. There will be things that don’t work out the way you want, and there will be some disappointments along the way. But if you hang in there, the outcome will be successful.
You will have moments of great joy and happiness, and your motivation will come back. In life there are some tough times, but you have to persist. Everything can’t always be pleasant and easy.
You need balance, a bit of social life, a bit of sports, and sleep is important too – we are not machines. We need to rest in order to be effective. You can’t do good work when you are tired and frustrated. It’s already hard to focus for ten hours, but you can’t work for fifteen or seventeen hours. You might get away with it for one or two days, but on the third you are going to crash.
Do you recommend working overseas?
Absolutely. I know many Japanese pastry chefs who have come to France to work, and they all have grown from it.
It’s a great pleasure for us pastry chefs to meet one another all over the world, and to see how much we have grown when we meet again. Mr. Terai from Aigre Douce is now an amazing pastry chef.
What are your moments of happiness as a pastry chef?
Thanks to my profession, I’m always happy – I have been able to grow, have amazing encounters, and to create pastries. I met a lot of great people. I have friends all over the world who welcome me when I visit. It’s a very precious thing.
Do you have a dream?
Plenty, but first of all I’d like my children who are thirteen and fifteen, to succeed in the paths they choose and to be happy. And I’d like to live happily with my friends and the people I like. The rest, I leave to fate.
(Interview, text: Akiko AWA, pictures: Hiroki TAGMA)