His experiences in military service. Starting from the scratch and continuing to work hard at Fauchon.
So that person was one of the biggest motivations for you to pursue your career as a pastry chef.How did you pursue your career after that?
After I worked in my hometown for four years, I was called up for military service to South Africa for about a year. At that time, there was still military service and it was compulsory for people to obey.I went to a place called French Guiana, and taught people working in schools or restaurants my cooking\ skills I have acquired.Most of the ingredients I was able to use there were only canned food, which I can`t say tasty, and vacuum sealed packing food only, but I had chance to use the local food.
After the years when I came back to my hometown in France, there was nowhere to work for me.
So you were forced to start from the scratch.
After I came back to France, I went to the central city in Paris to look for a job as a pastry chef.Because I knew for a long time that there would be great bakeries in Paris.
At that time, there were no cell phones so I went to Paris which was about 70km away from my hometown every day and looked for bakeries on a map, and handed in my resumes there.
I repeatedly did the same things every day and in the result, I was able to get offers from eight restaurants.I decided to work at Pâtisserie Peltier which is one of the oldest pastry shops in Paris, which has more than 100 years history.After working there for a year, I was able to start working at Fauchon.
※2 Fauchon called Fauchon hereinafter
From the start in 1886 till today, throughout the century, Fauchon pursues the greatest quality in ingredients and is shining as a gastronomic brand and has received so many acclaims not only from people in Franchon but gourmets all over the world.
I think it is such a great thing that you worked at Fauchon which is French traditional well established bakery after only one year you started working again.
It was not as great thing as you say.I was only hired temporarily for the busiest months from September to December.I was one of the 30 people there.
Fauchon told us they would hire three workers officially during the four months period. During the trial period, it was like a competition for us.I worked so hard during the trial period and at the end, I was the only one who was hired officially.
So you won the only ticket! What was different between you and the other 29 workers?
Maybe because of my perfectionism and picky character…However, some other staff there opened their shops and pursued their own way.
In Fauchon, I worked as a pastry chef at the beginning but after six months, they let me work as a chef.When I was 24, I became a sous-chef. At that time, I learnt so many things like having responsibility to be in that position.
In the end, I was in a position in charge of nearly 100 workers and I was responsible of opening new shops overseas.I flew all over the world to open Fauchon shops in each country.I held many workshops and study sessions and I needed to do quality checks in each shop.
Encounter with the Three Star French restaurant, Daniel *3 which won the James Beard Best Restaurant Award.Moving to New York alone.
After that, I heard that you started working at Daniel. Can you tell me about when you started working there?
It was 2006. One day, when I was still working at Fauchon, I received a call from Daniel Boulud, who owns a shop in New York, saying that he was looking for a pastry chef.
I thought it was interesting but it was my first time to work in a foreign country and did not speak much English so I was very nervous.However, he gave me a details explanation and I decided to move to New York as I was interested in working there.I still remember that time clearly!
Maybe eight dishes..? I was asked to make sweets as tasting and he said to me after he finished eating the second sweet,
「So, when can you work？」
From that time, I had no hesitation.Eight weeks later, I headed to New York with two suitcases.
※3 Daniel called Daniel hereinafter
Daniel is a three start Michelin French restaurant which Mr. Daniel Boulud who started his own shops after working as an executive of the famous restaurant, “Le Cirque”
I guess cultures, food and everything is different from France and America….
That’s right! Everything was different!
People in France prefer things familiar for a long time and do not like huge changes. On the other hand, people in America like new tastes, shape and finding something exciting.
Basically their sensation for taste is different so ingredients are totally different. Of course I knew about it already so I did not get confused and just accepted this as a part of my job.
In order to be proved myself by Mr. Daniel, I worked so hard every day.The shop has grown to be able to earn three starts in Michelin, four starts in New York Times.I am proud of myself being able to be a part of it and being there.
Through your career, who are you affected most?
There are so many mentors I have met since I started working in France as well as the team Fauchon.And of course, Mr. Daniel has taught me so many things throughout the six years, such as business management, hospitality and taking care of customers.
Making my dream come true. Having my own bakery where I could produce extremely creative work.
After years, in 2011. What was your feeling when you finally started your own bakery that had been your long time dream?
At first, some of my pastry chef friends in France said “you can`t succeed in New York even if you are able to open a French bakery. You should think about making traditional cup cakes or cheese cakes. “However, I did not listen to their opinions as I thought “it is not what I will pursue. It is not what I want to believe, achieve and pursue.”
The bakery that I wanted to create was going to be a unique bakery that has a spirit of Paris where people can relax listening to great music and have a comfortable time, not like a French bakery that has gold statues or chandeliers everywhere.
I heard that the concept of your shop is the “New Generation Bakery”. Could you explain about this?
New Generation Bakery was not a concept but a model. I wanted to share the idea of the model not only to ourselves but to other pastry shops that would be able to create a new future for the pastry industry and have a bakery that can boost the whole industry.
In the world, there are a lot of traditional and old French styled bakeries. However, we had a completely different vision in our bakery. My idea was to be influenced by traditional local ingredients and to create new pastries that are targeted by local people, and that can continue to create a unique new style of pastries. That is what I think about “new generation bakery.”