Three months ago…when I started the blog…I never thought I’d have so many ‘First’ times – first time blogging, first time entering a challenge and having the opportunity to interview a pastry chef for the very FIRST TIME :D
I was ecstatic and literally jumping up and down, when Leon from Walee Walee.com invited me to meet and interview Gregoire Michaud the executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong. For those who are not familiar with Gregoire he is also an author of four cookbooks and also like us a ‘Blogger’ ~ I have been following Gregoire’s blog and Twitter (@gregoireMichaud) for a while, so to get the chance to meet him face to face was just too exciting :)
We met up on a Thursday afternoon, and while waiting at the lobby, I was so nervous, going through the questions in my notebook over and over again ~ I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself hehe. Gregoire met us at the lobby, then kindly took us up to the executive business lounge where he had prepared an afternoon tea set for us to enjoy while we chat :)
Here’s the interview ~
Gregoire: Hi… Hello (Putting on an Australian accent)
Me: Could you please introduce yourself briefly?
Gregoire: Hi my name is Gregoire I am the pastry chef of Four Seasons in Hong Kong, I’ve been baking and cooking for 20 years, I’ve wrote 4 books and I blog.
Me: That’s great! (I think I was a little nervous I kept looking at my notes lol) how long have you been working in Hong Kong for?
Gregoire: A total of 12 years, in different hotels, including 7 years at Four Seasons
Me: What is the main difference in taste and preference of desserts and pastries in Hong Kong, compared to Europe such as France and Switzerland where you come from?
Gregoire: Sugar…much less sugar and I think it’s great to actually to be able…to be forced to use less sugar because it brings the real flavour of ingredients out much more…for me I think working with less sugar is actually better. So now when I go back to Europe and try their pastries, it’s very sweet….everything is sweet… I think I have gotten use to local tastes here in Hong Kong.
Me: Where do you get your inspiration for new desserts?
Gregoire: I read books…I read magazines…I watch TV. But it’s not always food related…I like to read design magazines, photo magazines, art magazines and books…then I get inspired from shapes and concepts and then I bring them into pastry. Flavours and ingredients are what is seasonal and what is available in the market and that defines what we use. We don’t fly pears from the moon J So yeah that’s my inspiration.
Me: What’s your favourite dessert? (I knew this was a tough question :P)
Gregoire: *Eyes Widen* Its that one (pointing to one of the lovely pastries on the cake stand)… I always answer this question with my mother’s apple pie…apple tart…. she’s made it since I’m a little boy and still do the same and it just tastes different from anywhere else. Probably the recipe she uses for the dough and the sugar, cinnamon, the apples she uses and the way she cooks and bakes it…just for me it is just the best. It is also because it is my mum’s apple tart I’m use to it. It is also where I started to be inspired to become a pastry chef. She was always doing pastries, jam and cake and everything at home. So naturally, I wanted to learn how to do that so I can eat more. I eventually learnt how to make basic cakes and then thought…why not I do this full time…
Me: Last question any new books on the way?
Gregoire: *GRINS* Yes there is…it’s on the way I am currently writing it…it’s going to be pairing desserts and wine or wine and other beverages. Mainly based on alcohol and liquors J so desserts may not be made with liquor or wine but it will be matched. We’ve worked with some professionals to actually pair them. I enjoy wine but they know better than me.
Me: Thank you very much!
Gregoire: You’re welcome!
So it seems like Gregoire has slowly assimilated and adopted Hong Kong people’s taste with using less sugar ;) and there’s a new book on the way YAY!
Gregoire definitely surprised me with his wittiness and openness to answer any questions we had :) Somehow I pictured pastry chefs to be stern and strict , he was anything but these two things :P
Did you know that it takes Gregoire and his team 3 days to make these scones?!? No wonder they taste good! Check out his video where he shares his secret techniques in making these scones :D
You can also enjoy this lovely Afternoon Tea Set daily at The Lounge daily from 3pm to 5:3opm :D
Thank you once again Gregoire for spending a wonderful afternoon with us. I have learnt so much about being a pastry chef and that you must be truly passionate about something to be able to succeed ~ I wish you the very best with your future endeavours!
Daisy@Nevertoosweet dined as a guest of Gregoire Michaud (Four Seasons) and Walee Walee.com