He is 36 years old; he is pastry-cook-consultant and trainer at the Lycée Hôtelier Médéric, works the sugar with passion but prefers the taste of the salt - and was not counting at all on taking part in this competition! He started getting ready three weeks before the championship, dedicated his every day to the CFDD – and looking at the result the combat was worth the effort. Meeting.
You’re a user of the Les vergers Boiron fruit purées yourself. Which do you prefer?
I adore the 100% fruit purées
; their taste is unaltered, and I like to mix them. At the moment I use the bergamot
a lot. I work by instinct; it changes each day, but most of the time I use the Les vergers Boiron purées to make sorbets or yogurt-based ice-creams.
How did you happen to take part in this competition?
It wasn’t foreseen at all! I was concentrated on a business I wanted to acquire, and in the end it didn’t come off. The competition was 3 weeks away; I had already participated two years ago: it was the perfect opportunity for me to concentrate on something else and change my ideas. I plunged into the work and for this challenge I chose a simple dessert: I don’t like dishes that are too complicated.
What was this famous dessert?
Where did you get the inspiration from?
I think above all it’s a mixture of everything that’s like me - and of what I’ve been given by people: vanilla has always been my special and reassuring ingredient; I adore its roundness, its woodiness; it’s my Madeleine of Proust and I always put a bit in my desserts. I can’t think of a dessert without condiment; in this case it was the citrus purée that reminds me of Christmas market in Alsace (I’m from Mulhouse) – it’s my wink at my former apprentices. And the pecan nut praline‘s for the “finger in the spreading paste” touch!
I tried to get the idea of transmission across with the dressing. I wanted to give the idea of a flame, like a torch that’s passed from hand to hand. My transmission is the transmission of pleasure, knowledge, emotions, which I transmit to my friends, children, apprentices, clients… It’s a word I adore. It’s what’s most important in my life.
Were you afraid?
I didn’t stress but I wasn’t completely calm either. I was in a bubble; I knew what I had to do, and above all throughout the competition I kept saying to myself, “They’re just some clients who want to eat a good dessert; there’re no judges; just keep calm”. It’s what I told my second too, to reassure him! We really took this attitude. The competition lasts nearly 5 hours: you have to keep focused.
Can you tell us about the moment when you knew you’d won?
It was really very intense, my wife, my friends and pupils were in the audience, and it was a touching recognition from my peers (among the judges were Yann Couvreur, Angelo Musa, Julien Dugourd, David Capy, and Franck Fresson), and above all the prize was given to me by Philippe Etchebest, and it’s really good to be appreciated by a cook: it means he’s really understood what I was getting at.
Other competitions in view?
I’m going to give competitions a rest. I don’t want to devote my life to them. I don’t want to neglect my family life; I’m going to have a holiday this summer and we’ll see in September! In any case, what strikes me most is that it’s nice to feel so well supported – by Les vergers Boiron especially.