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Dimitri Fayard: ‘Simple can be harder than complex’

June 16, 2022
Dimitri Fayard: ‘Simple can be harder than complex’
Alberto Ruiz

Photos: Paul Strabbing

The saying goes ‘birds of a feather flock together’. And if we review the list of professionals with whom Dimitri Fayard has had the opportunity to work, we can get an idea of his category as a chef. Philippe Urraca in France, and François Payard, Jean-Philippe Maury or Laurent Branlard in the United States are some of these great names. He even had time to run his own establishment, Vanille Pâtisserie, in Chicago between 2003 and 2011. In 2008 he became World Pastry Champion and in 2009 he was admitted as an Academician into the Academie Culinaire de France. At so good #27 we find Chef Fayard as Head of Chicago Academy Center, as much in love with a profession he wanted to devote himself to when he was only 11 years old, as he is convinced of the importance of the training he is currently providing. ‘Once you have mastered a pastry cream for example, you are now able to efficiently produce any type of curds. You learn how to properly crystalize a chocolate; you now understand how it reacts and can intelligently work on more intricate products. Repetition is the key, starting with good foundations and always aim to do it better and faster’, he points out.

 
so good.. 27 cover

Discover So Good #27

 

Why is a good training in pastry and chocolate essential?

I believe in fundamental training, learning the bases and repeating them until they are mastered. Once you have mastered a pastry cream for example, you are now able to efficiently produce any type of curds. The same goes for piping, if you can uniformly pipe pâte à choux, you can pipe anything. You learn how to properly crystalize a chocolate, you now understand how it reacts and can intelligently work on more intricate products. Repetition is the key, starting with good foundations and always aiming to do it better and faster.

 

“If the pandemic taught us something, it is the importance of a community, supporting local artisans”

 
Éclairs by Dimitri Fayard

What is the greatest difficulty in directing a Chocolate Academy?

Time. We are a small team with a lot of ideas with the whole USA as a territory. I want to make sure we provide excellent technical support for our customers, stellar educational programs, bring inspiration and innovation and stay connected to the chefs’ community all the while improving myself and my team with internal and external training. Never seems like there is enough time!

 

What will be, in your opinion, the future of pastry?

Local and fresh. If the pandemic taught us something, it is the importance of a community, supporting local artisans. I believe that more and more the artisans will go towards what I like to call ‘Kilometer Zero’. Buying flour from a local mill, dairy from a local farm, fruit from a local orchard… all with a sustainable sourcing in mind and ultimate freshness. Less sugar and fat will remain a priority. A plant- based and gluten-free type of pastry is becoming more and more popular. More than ever consumers are seeking healthier ways to indulge, pushing the artisans to be the leaders in the sector. Moving towards sustainability with packaging as well, eliminating plastic, composting… doing our part to better the environment.

 

“If the pandemic taught us something, it is the importance of a community, supporting local artisans”

 

What are your future plans for school? Any new courses?

Honey tablets by Dmitri Fayard

We have deployed the ‘Sweet Tables’ in the USA – a collaborative initiative aimed to unite and promote local pastry chefs, bakers and chocolatiers to share, inspire and grow in the art of all things sweet. We are planning to duplicate this initiative in multiple cities. On the other hand, we are planning some courses by new chefs who have never taught in the USA such as Pawel Petrykowski, Romain Dufour, Miquel Guarro, Lawrence Bobo, Vinesh Johny, Marike Van Beurden, Lauren V. Haas, Karla Espinoza, Saray Ruiz and myself.

 

What is your opinion about the evolution of pastry making in USA?

I have been in the USA for 22 years and have seen a tremendous growth in the local talent. Thanks to a lot of chefs who have been pillars in educating young talents. Schools, social media and publications have been fundamental in putting our craft forward, the younger generation is now aware of what quality is, what craftsmanship is, what service is and are moving toward that goal. The pastry industry has evolved for the better.

 

“I wanted to work on traditional and fundamental techniques while bringing a fresh look to classic desserts”

 

Tell us a bit more about the creations you present in so good.. magazine. What is the idea?

I wanted to work on traditional and fundamental techniques while bringing a fresh look to classic desserts. Focusing on geometric shapes and forward flavors. We often underestimate the technicity involved in making such classic desserts such as a Millefeuille or Paris Brest, but let’s take the puff pastry, from the mixing of the dough to the perfect baking. There are a lot of steps that are crucial, and same goes for pâte à choux, from the panade, eggs incorporation to the piping and baking. Simple can be harder tha complex.

 

Discover these four signature creations recipes by Dimitri Fayard in so good #27

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