Shigeo HIRAIPropriétaire et chef exécutif de la pâtisserie et chocolaterie l'Avenue et Brand Ambassador Les vergers Boiron
Shigeo Hirai wanted to be a pastry maker since he was 18. He graduated from Japan’s Tsuji Cooking Academy in 1994, worked for several pastry shops and restaurants and then spent two years in France between 2001 and 2003, where he explored French pastry making in great detail. He then came home and joined the pastry brigade at Tokyo’s Grand Hyatt Hotel and eventually became their Executive Pastry Chef. In 2009, he won the World Chocolate Masters in Paris, after having won several Japanese national awards. He opened his chocolate and pastry shop, L’Avenue, in Kitano (Kobe) in 2012.
Today he is a Brand Ambassador for Les vergers Boiron, and a certified technical advisor of The Federation of Japan Confectionery Associations. What he appreciates most in the philosophy of French pastry transmitted to him by French friends and colleagues, is that quality is more important than anything else. In Japan, he says, “age and experience often complicate the rise of young talents”. He is always open to learning and appreciating people and their passions, whoever they may be. And, as time passes, he is still learning, searching for new ideas and never resting on his laurels. He believes that taste must bring people joy and pleasure and be surprising. His two renowned specialities are chocolate terrine and a chocolate mini-cake that won him his Master’s trophy in Paris. He believes that the taste experience must reflect the change of time, where powerful tastes gradually give way to more subtle savours, like daylight turning to night.