Amaury Guichon: a French pastry chef in Las Vegas
Amaury Guichon, just 29 years old, is one of the world's most innovative and famous pastry chefs. Based in Las Vegas, where he runs The Pastry Academy, he talks to us about his craft and his passions.
A winning bet
Amaury Guichon is one of the emblematic figures of the new generation of pastry chefs, constantly renewing and sharing ideas about their craft and thair passion. His main focus is to propose pastry creations that combine the very best in taste and visual effects in all of the desserts he makes. He shares his knowledge with students at his teaching center, The Pastry Academy. He is also one of the pastry chefs with the most followers on social networks worldwide, in particular on Instagram (2.2 million Followers).
An incredible journey
To understand his incredible success, we need to look first at Amaury’s early years. Born in Cannes, the son of a Swiss mother and a French father, he grew up in Geneva and did an introductory pastry training session in Annemasse in the Haute Savoie region of France, near the Swiss border… at the age of 13! “This first course, which only lasted one week, was really hard,” he admits, “I never thought I would become a pastry maker, but this first experience really made me want to get into the food and hospitality business.”
The following year, he registered in a specialist course in gastronomy and began an apprenticeship in Thonon-Les-Bains, another small resort town in the French Alps. He then crossed the border again and worked for two years in a bakery and pastry shop, Wolfisberg, in Geneva. “That's where I learned the fundamentals of the trade and the importance of traditional quality.” During this stint, he won several local prizes for his baking creations.
This successful run enabled him to get a job at the prestigious Maison Lenôtre in Paris, and after a year’s work at one of France’s most prestigious centers of gastronomy, he won the title of Best Apprentice in France. After his graduation, he was hired by Lenôtre and one year later, was asked to run their boutique in Cannes, his hometown.
“The years I spent with Lenôtre really changed my life. First of all, I learned what high-end pastry was all about, with its demanding level of accuracy and creativity. I also learned what it meant to work as a team member and to respect my superiors. Finally, by managing the boutique in Cannes, I learned what a day-to-day business was all about and how important it was to have a good relationship with customers. I was very lucky to learn all three aspects of my trade in such a short period of time.”
Amaury returned to Paris in 2012, after having won après the Délices de la Méditerranée Award, created by Yves Thuriès, and was appointed as Executive Chef at Hugo & Victor, where he managed seven employees, giving him more management experience.
Heading in new directions
In 2012, aged 21, Amaury decidesd to leave for Las Vegas, to manage R&D, assembly and finishing at the Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie at the Aria Resort & Casino (known today simply as Aria Pâtisserie. “During these four years working at this renowned establishment in the world capital of showbusiness, I refined the visual presentations of my desserts, but without ever sacrificing the essential principle of taste. I wanted to create a fusion between French Taste and American Showmanship. I worked like a madman on the finished look, often until 3:00 o'clock at night. I came to Vegas without knowing a word of English, but I learned quickly thanks to the support of my colleagues. Putting myself way out of my comfort zone and the support I got from the team really made it happen for me and I finally became an Assistant Executive Chef, managing seven people at. I took a big risk, but after all, when you come to Las Vegas, the idea is to try and win big!"
Amaury Guichon, who constantly looks for what's most modern and innovative, decided to get on social networks in 2016, encouraged by Steve Acosta, his assistant, whom he had met at Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie and who got him to create his Instagram account. “I tested social networking without realizing the impact it would have on my life. I put out a small video clip to explain, step-by-step, how to make a dessert. That's where I was able to apply my principle of really precise recipes, both in terms of the choice of products and the discipline required to get a recipe right. For me, that combination has always been the key to success. The final result is less important, especially when you start out, then the lessons you learn on how to be both accurate and creative.”
His approach becam an instant success online and, bolstered by an Insider approval on several of his Facebook pages, Amaury’s video got eight million views in a single week and thousands of followers signed up almost immediately. Amaury is today the most popular pastry maker on social networks, with 2.2 million Followers on Instagram and close to a million on Facebook.
leçons qu’on apprend en étant à la fois précis et créatif. »
Pastry: an international language
In 2019, to further share his passion, Amaury launched The Pastry Academy in Las Vegas, which he founded with Michel Ernots , a Frenchman he met in Chicago. The Academy hosts 10-week courses, four times a year, with 16 students from all over the world attending, as well as shorter courses (three or four days), such a “Chocolate Showpiece Masterclass” and “one-day unique experiences”. The Pastry Academy Is currently being supported by 16 companies, equipment and product suppliers, including Les vergers Boiron. “To achieve excellence, we have to provide our students, from the very start, with the best tools and the best ingredients. Therefore, I quite naturally asked Les vergers Boiron to come on board since I’ve been using their frozen purées and coulis for many years. And they immediately accepted, without any hesitation!”
The Pastry Academy has recruited several great chefs for its master classes. In 2020, these will include Yann Couvreur (Parisian Pastries), Christophe Morel (Sugar Creations), François Delaire (Plated Desserts), Johan Martin (Danish Pastries), Yvan Chevalier (Chocolate bonbons), with more to come.
At the same time, Amaury is traveling the world to run his own Master Classes, from Greece to Taiwan, via India, Korea, Romania, etc.
“What's amazing on these trips, is to see first-hand how popular quality baking, inspired by French pastry-making has become. But, the greatest thing for me is to discover and explore new ingredients and tastes which open up a host of new opportunities and creative possibilities. It isn't simply to find ‘exotic’ ingredients or discover ‘folklore’ practices, but above all to use new aromas and flavors that enable you to create new recipes that are less sweet, less loaded with calories and more accessible to a wide diversity of tastes. I learn as much as I teach and my greatest satisfaction and pleasure come from the experiences of sharing knowledge so that we can create better tasting and healthier products all round. My current mantra: create pleasure without putting on weight!”