Arnaud Normand – Pastry Chef in China
Arnaud Normand is a Pastry Chef with international experiences working in China today. We have met him for an amazing interview.
You are an international experiences Pastry Chef working in China today. Where does your passion for pastry comes from comes from?
I come from a small French town, called St Amand. My childhood was quite peaceful. I spent much of my time with my time with my grandfather, who was famous for his pottery. He showed me how to make pottery from clay, how to decorate and maintain it. When I grew up and learned the chocolatier & pastry trade, I realized that actually, they have a lot in common. To have an excellent product, I needed to collect the right ingredients, pay attention to temperatures and processes, and give it my personal touch. This is also my secret to success.
How did your pastry career started?
Working as an expat chef wasn’t something I set out to do, I kind of just ended up doing it. I still remember the day that started me off in my expat life, and that day changed everything. I have worked as a pastry chef, chocolatier and also as a consultant for various countries (Vietnam, Grenada island, China, Qatar…) for the past five years. Currently I am a pastry and baking instructor at one of the top 10 culinary schools in China, the UMEY ACADEMIC school. They have 12 schools based in the 12 biggest cities in China including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian. I have a huge drive to bring the art of French pastry and chocolate to the world. Even though I am not a famous chef at the moment, I am proud to be a part of an enterprise that allows me to deliver not just just quality, but creativity.
Which cooking/ pastry school did you visit?
I studied in Paris and Bourges, trained with Chef Christophe Eme and Chef Phillipe Morvan at « Auberges deTemplier » 2 stars Michelin in 2000 and in 2014, I came back and worked as Pastry Chef.I have so many fond memories of those times and those achievements.
From France into the world, that was/ is your path. What are your essential French pastry basics on this path?
A table of chocolate, or a “tiny” French cake, for me, is not only something to eat. It is a pleasure, a happiness that you give for the one you love, or for yourself after a hard day of work or for a special occasion. The big difference with French Pastry, in my opinion, is the focus on the details.
For example, my Delice Mangue Caramel Beurre Salé has 4 layers. At the bottom is crunchy sablé vanilla breton. The second and third layers are biscuit jaconde and salty creamy caramel butter. The last one is Mangue Passion Glacage with a tropical taste. A bite brings a harmony of colorful flavor. Minimal, chic, elegant but a blend of taste is my signature style.
As Pastry Chef you worked as well in Belgium. Can you explain as the differences between the Belgium and French pastry?
Speaking about my experiences in Europe, from my point of view, there are not so many differences between Belgian and French pastry in general. Maybe there is some local specialties from a province, like Canelé in Bordeau or la Gaufre de Lìege, etc… but there is a huge difference between european and asian pastry. Asian people prefer eating cake that is low in sugar. In many Asian countries that I have worked in or traveled to, they have many ways to make a cake: steaming, grilling, frying, etc. And Asian people love to put fruits or beans into their cakes. I find it creative and it’s something that I want to explore more of.
If you would have the time to come up with a pastry/ chocolatier book; what would it be about?
I have a passion for making chocolate also, specially in Bean-to-Bars. With Marou Faiseur de chocolat (Vietnam), we have a Silver medal for Best Dark Chocolate Bean – to – Bar for “Academy of Chocolate 2013” contest, Bronze medal for Best Dark Chocolate Bean – to – Bar for “Academy of Chocolate 2013″ contest and 3rd prize for ” Louis Berger Category chocolate contest 2006 ” at Toulouse – French. In 2014, I have an invitation as a consultant for Diamond Chocolate Factory at Grenada Island (South American). Three months living on this island I have discovered and learned so many things. So, in the future, if I publish my book, it will surely be about the Bean-to-bar chocolate field, where to find quality beans, how to select them and the general process.
Thanks a lot, Arnaud!
What is your plan for your future as a chef?
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