“If there is something I have not made yet.” I take every opportunity to learn about it before work and on days off.
After your summer holidays, you showed up a week early by yourself, right?
I just came in early to prepare everything. Today is my day off, but I did some paperwork. It takes understanding to know how much it costs per plate and how we can prepare, cook and make many orders. There are things I have to do on a computer. When we change the menu, we have to make new desserts.
At Taillevent we change the lunch menu every two weeks, so we make more than 10 different kinds of dishes every two months. Also, every week, we receive customers requests like, “Next Thursday, this number of guests would like this kind of dessert.” So we always have to create new desserts.
It was the same at my previous job, staff members take days off, and we cannot serve desserts without my presence, so I can not rest.
On your days off and weekends you were helping with events, right?
When you do pâtissier, it’s a small world, but I do not have many friends, so I study a lot. I get to see many things I usually don’t. I am constantly learning because there are many things I cannot make yet. It also fits my personality.
When my staff are struggling with prepariing a dish, I go and help.
When I helped with the opening of the new place in London, I did not have a day off for 3 months.
It is refreshing for me to help PR of Japanese food on weekends.
Are you the type of person who has always worked hard?
Yes. In the beginning, I was a fast worker. At “L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon” we worked three days on and three days off. So we only needed to prepare three days of meals. When we came back to work, we have to start all over again. On the first day back we open and prepare at the same time, so I became faster at my job.
It is not difficult for me to work extra hours. Chefs do not want to work on their days off without pay, even though there may be a lack of staff.
When you run your own patistree, you have to do a lot yourself.
In France the focus is on presentation. I can try my own way so as to gain ability.
How do you refresh?
I simply sleep. On my day off I wake up at 4pm, eat, and sleep again.
I also go out for drinks with my friends.
I exchange information with friends, who are chefs and pâtissiers, while enjoying a beer at a cafe.
What is the best part of working in France?
In France, the process is not the focus. It is only the presentation that is evaluated.
So it is good you can experiment. I think it is important in order to improve.
Also, for the young chefs, there is an atmosphere where they can ask questions and make suggestions.
What are the good points of working as a pâtissier ?
You can eat sweets. I love sweets.
There is also the creative freedom. It is okay to shape Mont Blanc any way you want.
How do you keep motivated?
I have both “I love this.” and “I have to do this.”. It is rushing to think of a new menu in a short period of time. However, Taillevent is basically a classic type restaurant, so there is no need to make anything so eccentric.
But I am glad when I can make something good. It encourages me.