“The real luxury for me is the link with nature. Nature is authentic by its very essence, and it cannot be tamed. Every time we have tried, we realized that we have taken a step in the wrong direction. Just look at all the food product scandals, all the junk food we produce in our urban societies that poison our lives. We become what we eat, and it’s important for me to feed my customers as I feed myself. It’s true, we are only Pastry Chefs and not doctors, but we must also question the quality and origin of products and take action at our own level. Beyond the taste rediscovered, we find back the gratuity of the nature, the one we have lost when we were trying to dominate it. Cutting ourselves off from nature is cutting any connections to ourselves and to the life that flows in us.
I understood this truth when I experimented a few years ago press relations. In June, it was planned to taste the Christmas logs. They were finalized at the level of creation, but it was impossible to imagine what will be the final taste, six months in advance. My producers are unable to tell me if there will be rhubarb or not, at that time, or some other fruit. It’s nature that decides! And if it will rain that day the picking will also be postponed. So I realized that I could not get into the system if I still wanted to live according to the rhythm of nature. My customers understand this very well: if a dessert is missing in the range because we didn’t get the delivery of strawberries, raspberries or fresh lemons. For a business owner, it is a demanding path because it means we have to plan without trying to control everything. If I start to make ten times more cakes, and with all kinds of fruits whatever the season is, I would have to give a lot of things up and it would not be the same job. It is the price for authenticity. Living according to one’s beliefs and values to create something that is truly tailor-made and that respects the laws of Mother Nature. For consumers, the first act is in purchases. For example, to stop believing that it is more expensive to consume differently. There is such a gain in taste and flavors that satiety comes faster and we benefit the body. Another point is to come back to meals taken with the family, because these special moments where we cook with our spouse and children, will remain engraved in our memories. We must open their eyes!
Designing in my profession is an intellectual journey, but it is also something very sensual, stimulating the five senses, and then creativity comes, opening new ways. I have a real need to touch, to shape with my hands and to be in touch with the materials. And now, with my experience, I find that the less I listen to my ego, the more I am open to what people are really looking for, and to my own desires. What make us vibrate are the essentials: the right taste and the simple joys of life in their proper place. This simplicity is not always obvious to create, because it requires to get rid of the gaze of others, for example if we are using just two flavors or fruits that are not perfectly shaped. For me, a defect is a quality because natural fruits are not perfect. Accepting this reality makes us become more and more oneself and in an authentic relationship with others. Another point is that you cannot do this job just to have fun; It is something that gives itself to others and has to be shared. I chose to make it my way of life, avoiding Internet and social networks when they give way to a type of ego casting where we disconnect from the present moment to outbid the exceptional.
To be authentic, one must respect oneself and have that inner freedom, in all circumstances. For example, if you ask me the novelty of the moment, a crunchy story, I do not have any. But I will tell you that I had a wonderful time two weeks ago, when I had to face the bad weather and snow, to meet a butter producer in a farm situated at 1800 m altitude. These simple people welcomed me into their home, loan from a veterinary clinic where the calves were entering, leaving or passing like at home. Then, they offered me to taste together a two-years-old Cantal cheese, that they brought back from their personal stock. That’s the real luxury for me, these special moments that give meaning to life, like it was the icing on the cake!”
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on February 22, 2018, in Paris
Link to the website of Des Gâteaux et du Pain
Read also the portrait of Claire Damon