He has opened two shops in Tokyo, Japan (Omotesando and Ginza) and some in London, England. Dominique Ansel is going to open his first restaurant in autumn 2017.
Why did you decide to open your second hop in Japan after your first shop in New York has been opened?
Because Japanese pastry chefs have high skills and there are so many skilled chefs in Japan who would be able to keep the quality of our bakery.
The most important thing for me was to interact with the local people and understand their customs. I still think a lot about what taste Japanese people would like. That is why, 40% of our menu in Tokyo shop is the limited in the shop.
How many staff members do you have at the moment?
There are so many now… We have about 350 staff members in each country including the additional new staff members to open new shops.
What is the secret that you have to be able to manage such a number of staff members by yourself?
Of course, each individual has a different characteristic and there are cultural differences too in each country.For example, each individual tends to be assertive in America, and people in Japan tend to have a strong will for learning, and such and such…
I always think about being flexible to different situations by assimilating different way of working and cultures. I do not know if I can say it as my secret but I always cherish their feelings like “what they want” and “what I would want if I were them”. I always keep it in mind to be flexible to different situations and have a strict attitude sometimes when communicating and interacting with staff members of these countries.
But maybe…. my biggest secret is “I don`t sleep”.. I want to always interact with staff members so sometimes I sleep only three hours a day. I wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning every day.
You must be very tired every day.. There must be a reason to have shops in many different countries even if you spend such a hectic life.
Of course there are so many reasons! The biggest merit of having shops in many different countries is that I can actually see customers from all over the world smiling when they eat our sweets. And, we can see our staff members in each country to enjoy their work by creating great work teams in these countries.
Although I may be able to open a shop all over the world in the future, I do not really wish to open shops that many. As I mentioned earlier, I am a perfectionist so I always want to manage my shops by myself if I choose to open a new shop.
To prevent new inventions from being stopped by another great creativity, he does not stop pursuing new creation.
Do you expect anything in the future from staff members working with you?
I hope our workers to understand my mindset of new generation bakery and pass it down to the next generation. I will not stop putting my effort into cultivating such workers and I will never stop pursuing new creations myself to prevent new inventions from being distracted by another great creativity.
Before the end of the interview, could I have a message for people who would like to be pastry chefs like you?
When you are engaged in your work, there is a time that you think it is hard and too much. However, I would like you to have a confidence in what you are doing. And, I would like you to remember not being afraid of “taking on challenges”. If you do not try, you can`t even fail. If you do not fail, you can`t learn. It is very important that you try.
It is very honor to receive a lot of advices from others. However, please remember that majority of these advices are not necessarily needed for you. It is important that you grow by having advices from others but it is more important that you have your own vision and never doubt what you believe.
（Interview: Osamu Sato , Context: Noboru Yoshida , Photography: Tomonari Shimizu ）
*Some of the images (Inside the shop, or pastries) are provided by the shop.
New York Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson) New York, NY 10012
Tel: +1 212 219 2773
Dominique Ansel Kitchen
137 Seventh Avenue South New York, NY 10014
Tel: +1 212 242 5111
17-21 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP
Tel: +44 20 7324 7705
5-7-14 Zingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo
Tel: 03 3486 1329
B2F Ginza Mitsukoshi 4-6-16 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo
Tel: 03 6263 0309