This edition of the MOF stands out for the variety in terms of professional profiles awarded. And the important thing for the jury is not to assess where the craft is exercised, but the passion, rigor and knowledge demonstrated by each finalist. Jonathan Mougel has been working as a demonstrator of the company PatisFrance-Puratos-Belcolade since 2004.
After almost reaching the prize in 2015 (then he was a finalist), he did not give up but increased his efforts to make a dream of his youth a reality. The key to his success: simplifying to extract the maximum.
When did you decide to become a pastry chef?
I think I decided to do so during my childhood, while preparing cakes at home with my family. Then, at school, during a stage where we learned about different companies, I met Christian Perret, pastry chef who helped guide my career.
Tell us about your professional experience.
I’m from the Lorraine region. I studied at the Lycée Hôteliers de Gérardmer. Among my experiences I would highlight my time in the traiteur of Marie and Michel Gravier. During the master craftsman degree, I learned from Serge Pierrel and Daniel Chaboissier. I was also influenced by Jean Philippe Walser and Jean Charles Balthazard.
In my career I could name so many. Olivier Freliger, my friends Mickael Tassin, Eric Boffin and Joannic Taton. And I especially remember my meeting with Stéphane Leroux, MOF 2004. It was shortly before the launch of his book Matière Chocolat (2009). I was so dazzled by his work that I began to question everything. A few years later, Stéphane agreed to sponsor me for the MOF, and I took part for the first time in 2013.
The most important sacrifice was to get away from home. I moved to Lyon to prepare well. It is essential to be surrounded with the right people to face this contest, to have the support of family, friends and company.
How long have you wanted to become a MOF?
I remember that at 18 years old, with my friend Florian Poirot, we reviewed in the Journal du Pâtissier the images of the competition, those spectacular sugar pieces… They made my eyes shine. Since then I never took my eye off of this contest as a goal.
Preparing for the MOF involves great sacrifices. What is the key to successfully facing the preparation?
The most important sacrifice was to get away from home. I moved to Lyon to prepare well. It is essential to be surrounded with the right people to face this contest, to have the support of family, friends and company. The preparation is very personal and selfish, because many people suffer from our stress. Therefore, when the results are announced, you immediately think of each one of them.
But above all, it is necessary to believe in yourself, and take the experience as something pleasant, something fun.
What have you learned on a technical level?
Well, we tend to overelaborate our recipes and complicate them too much when we participate in this type of contest. I understood that all that is simple and good is still a safe bet.
And what else is needed to get the title?
You have to be prepared to challenge yourself, to work very hard. From my point of view, sport is fundamental, because you are liberated. And you have to know how to take a break from time to time. But above all, it is necessary to believe in yourself, and take the experience as something pleasant, something fun. You have to say to yourself: What a joy to participate in a final of the MOF! In the end, obtaining this title is magical, the recognition of our colleagues, of an entire profession. But do not forget the rest of the finalists of this promotion. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone on their work.
Looking ahead, what projects do you have?
Right now, I need to rediscover a normal life. Go back to my work and make demonstrations.