Brandview: Meet a Pastry Lover
Where did your passion for pastry came from?
When I was a child, my godfather was pastry chef, confectioner and master chocolatier in his shop in Touquet, France. At 12 years old, during my summer holidays and free time, I started working with him, dishwashing in the morning and rolling croissants in the afternoon. Later on, I worked for three summers in an ice cream shop back in Touquet, making ice cream in the morning and selling it on the beach after. At 16 years old I started a vocational qualification as a pastry chef. The passion is still the same today as I have worked for French Bakery for many years, where we continuously innovate.
How often does French Bakery launch new recipes? Can you describe the process?
We work in two different sectors, the retail sector which we cater for our own shops and the foodservice which ranges from coffee shops, restaurants to hotels. We continuously innovate, creating new recipes for our foodservice clients who are always looking for original products to attract customers. Each client has different requirements and guidelines such as shapes, taste and price that we have to adhere to, ensuring that our products meet the required standards.
The same process is followed for our own shops where we launch regularly new creative cakes, bake goods, pastry, sandwiches and salads. We also have six artists who prepare custom cakes.
How do you find the best ingredients here in Dubai?
I have lived in many countries before coming to Dubai and compared with them, it’s very easy to find good quality products, fresh ingredients from all over the world. For example, in Italy or England, it was way much harder to find the right ingredients for tasty pastries. When I arrived in Dubai 20 years ago it was more difficult to find them than today. It’s expensive but worth it due to the quality of the products. French Bakery has exceptional suppliers such as Président and we especially have great support from Lactalis.
How important is the quality of the dairy products French Bakery uses for its bakery and pastry items?
The main dairy products we use are butter and cream. Both of them need to be the best quality and we never compromise due to the fact that we freeze all products. For example, none of our viennoiseries contain margarine, only pure butter is used to achieve the best product. Similarly, for our cakes we only use 35% whipping cream in order to have the best taste and consistency after whipping. Our objective is to have the best for our customers. By using premium dairy products, we are able to achieve this good quality and decent prices thanks to their high functional efficiency.
Is there a difference between the types of pastries consumed in France and Dubai?
In France the pastry is more sophisticated and elitist whereas here in UAE the demand is more for American-style products where everyone is looking for chocolate, cheesecake, muffins, and doughnuts. We have to accommodate to our customers’ requirements by having the best quality ingredients that will make the difference.
What are the best-selling products at French Bakery?
Our eight-metre display showcases more than 80 cakes. The best-selling products from this range are the viennoiseries. Chocolate cakes and cheesecakes are also very popular with our customers.
What advice would you give to young pastry chefs who are starting their careers?
We all know that chefs work for long hours specially during weekends, my advice is that you need to have faith and be in love with this profession, by having both the job will be worthwhile. In the past, because we didn’t have the internet, when you created something it was your own signature creation. Nowadays, everyone can get ideas from different sources. We all need to adapt to this new way of working. So what will set you apart is your passion!