Hans Ovando and Elena Adell have seen their dream come true with the opening of Bee Chef Pastry School in Barcelona (Spain). It is not intended to be just a traditional school to be used as such, but rather ‘a space for research and development, and also for training, in which we share what we learn and discover,’ says Ovando.
Bee Chef is largely the result of the vast experience that has been accumulated by this chef of Chilean origin, who has spent the last six years traveling around the world and teaching pastry and chocolate courses in various schools.
‘Teaching in other schools and seeing other types of formats has allowed us to see the lack of training that currently exists, and that is where we wanted to strengthen our programs’
Among the contents offered by Bee Chef are specialization courses such as chocolate, more comprehensive training such as the yearlong pastry class, intensives, introductory courses, as well as monographs, masterclasses with international chefs, and even courses for amateurs.
All of this with a spirit open to anyone who wants to come, wherever they come from. Not surprisingly, they offer bilingual course programs in which classes are taught simultaneously in Spanish and English.
Another strength of this new center is individualized training, with very small groups, fully practical classes and a side-by-side work between teachers and students. Hence the name of Bee Chef, represented by the bee symbol, an example of teamwork.
Hans Ovando returns to the pages of so good.. magazine, issue #23, to tell us about this brand-new project, and to introduce us to his team, which in addition to Elena Adell, is also formed by Adrián Sánchez and Kacper Barzyk.
What is the balance of these first months of operation of Bee Chef?
Positive in all aspects. It has been hard, but with the experience we have behind us, you can get a general idea. With a good market survey, you know a little about how your audience will react. But Barcelona is a training center for pastry, so you have to be prepared and ready for any changes or just to adapt to the market.
How would you define Bee Chef? What is it? And what differentiates you from the rest of the training offered in Spain?
Bee chef is a research and development space, as well as a place for training, in which we share what we learn and discover.
Bee Chef is a school open to the world, and our training is focused on the international public. We have bilingual course programs in which classes are held simultaneously in Spanish and English. In this way, practically everyone who wants can access quality training, adding to this, is how enriching it is to have students from different countries and cultures.
‘It is not about doing a recipe and repeating it, but about understanding the process in order to interpret the following, and that the students are able to create their own dishes with a good knowledge base ‘
And do they come from other countries exclusively to train?
In the last bilingual course, for example, we had 8 students from 7 different countries. For us, it is already a success that so many people from other countries are interested and make the effort to come to our school to train with us for a whole month. We are expanding patisserie.
Why should someone go to Bee Chef to train in pastry?
Our experience teaching in other schools, and seeing so many other types of formats, has allowed us to see the lack of training that exists, and that is where we wanted to strengthen our programs.
The success of Bee Chef lies in individualized training: small groups for better teacher attention, fully practical classes for students, in which we work side by side with them. This way, we know that nobody goes home with a doubt in their head. We work together, we talk about what we are doing and why things are happening.
This last concept for us is vital, it is not about doing a recipe and repeating it, but about understanding the process in order to interpret the following, and that the students are able to create their own dishes with a good knowledge base.
We believe we know what future students look for or need, and we base our methodology on this.
What is the average profile of your student?
The majority are people who have previous knowledge in pastry, although it is not essential, but they are looking for a more exhaustive or specialized training in some subjects. For example, the students from the specialization course in chocolate are people who already dedicate themselves to and work in pastry, but who are looking at this specialized course to enrich their knowledge, while in the yearlong pastry course, students come for a complete training, both in practical bases as well as theoretical pastry. We also have on the calendar masterclasses for professionals, with international chefs, and classes for amateurs.