Dominique Ansel – Beyond the Cronut
“I was always attracted to the kitchen from a very young age. Watching my parents cook fascinated me, and for me cooking is a way to bring people together and socialize. I love making people happy, and baking for people is an easy way to make them happy. It’s completely something from the heart. I started my apprenticeship when I was 16, and I studied for 2 years before going and completing my pastry training for another year.
My foundation is in French cuisine, and cassoulet has always been and will always be one of my favorite dishes to have. However, that foundation gets built upon by traveling and learning new techniques. Traveling to Japan was an eye opening experience, and it was also where I ate one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. It was in a small restaurant in Kyoto off the beaten path that specializes in beef and mostly caters to the local Geisha. I had a tasting menu of 25 courses, and the first course was a raw beef liver. That sounds really scary I know, and I actually think the Chef was testing my limits. If he was testing me, I must have passed because I loved the dish. It was so tender and flavorful, marinated in soy sauce, sea salt and herbs. Very simple and straightforward but the texture was indescribable and it was chilled to the perfect temperature. The rest of the courses were just as good and it was definitely one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I just love how simple and focused on quality ingredients the cuisine is in Japan. The beauty and aesthetics of their cuisine is something I think of often when I am constructing my pastries.
I’m really thrilled with how the cronut has taken off the way it has, but I have to keep it in perspective. To me it’s just another creation, another idea that popped in to my head that people really liked. I have many more ideas in the works, and will always try new things. Being creative and inventive is part of the fun of making pastries. I just hope I can keep making the people happy.”
Interview by Leigh Suznovich