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A question of style

so good #11

March 31, 2014
so good #11
A question of style

How is it possible that so good.. magazine publishes an article about a chef who makes simple, popular doughnuts and at the same time rejects another article about a sophisticated and labour-intensive dessert, with more than a dozen elements, and which was created by a pastry chef from a famous restaurant?

It is not easy to respond to this or other questions that we receive from chefs when they wish to see their work published in the magazine. We could say that only those desserts, tarts, bonbons, etc., which are innovative, balanced in form, perfectly completed and presented with good photography, are published in so good.. magazine. However, this would not be entirely true, as pieces ranging from a doughnut to a croissant, which is not exactly an innovative product, have been included in this magazine on more than one occasion. And it is true that at other times we have discarded creations that appear innovative, have been developed with interesting techniques, and which were captured in photography that was atmospheric, beautifully lit and in high definition.

Therefore, what is our selection criteria? Well, it is possibly a question that is easier to understand than to explain. Our criteria are fundamentally related to beauty, perfection, orginality, sensitivity… It concerns a style and a way of understanding pastry that goes far beyond the graceful placement of different things on a plate or on top of a cake.

Nor can we deny the important aspect of subjectivity. In other words, there are things we like and things we do not like. However, we do try to ensure that our final decision regarding the acceptance or rejection of any submission is not too clouded by this condition. In attempting to be as objective as possible, and as a general principle, we lean towards simplicity in presentation, a cleanliness and purity of line and form. We are closer to minimilism than we are to the baroque. And, of course, we are in agreement with those tendencies that are appearing today in the work of many pastry chefs, which could be summarised by the search for the essential, not only in flavours and textures, but also in terms of decorations. Why place a mountain of things on top of a cake, which have nothing to do with the cake itself, and which you are not going to eat anyway?

In the world of pastry, as in other worlds, less is more. The real risk is not always in amassing a host of elements into one dessert, but to select only three or four, and to ensure they fit perfectly. And, if they are in balance and harmony with each other, in their substance as well as in their form, then we can begin to talk about “haute pâtisserie” as we understand it.

At so good.. magazine we are thankful for the interest shown by so many readers and by the many professionals who offer their creations to us. We do our best to be consistent and we know that on occasions we can appear to be contradictory. But there is one thing above all others that drives us, and that is to show that pâtisserie is an art form that can, and should be, beautiful.