Instead of following trends, pastry chefs around the world are setting their own.
French pastry chef Cédric Grolet was named the best pastry chef of the world at this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.
The 32-year-old head pastry chef at Le Meurice hotel in Paris, France is known for his masterful creations which include lifelike fruit cakes and his signature Rubik’s Cake made with fruit and ganache filling.
New York-based chef Rory Macdonald says keeping up with trends is a 24-hour job.
The London-born pastry chef recently collaborated with luxury coffee shop and pâtisserie café Coco Safar and was a guest speaker along with Spanish chef Carmen Rueda at the Sea Point restaurant.
Macdonald says the world of pâtisserie is about precision and discipline.
“New York is a really tough city and now that I have my own shop it’s a different type of pressure because the need to keep up with the newest trend all the time is exhausting,” he admits.
“The basic rule of pastry is if you follow the rules all the time you’ll get the same result, so it is possible to make something perfect all the time.”
The croissant has been recreated by many chefs, which led to the creation of cronuts, doughssants and kouign-amann.
Kouign-amann is a round crusty Breton cake made with bread dough and contains layers of butter and sugar.
Macdonald says: “it’s very similar to a croissant except we sprinkle it with sugar then we fold it into a muffin tin and bake it,” he says.
“Even as a cinnamon dough, you get a totally different texture and you get the caramelisation running outside. Inside it’s not the same texture as a croissant, it’s a little cakier. It can be quite rich, so we fill the middle with lemon and yuzu curd.”
Macdonald admits one of the biggest challenges for pastry chefs is catering to the vegan market.
“It’s tough because we work with a lot of dairy. It’s not impossible but it is difficult because you want to give your guests the same flavour as the pâtisserie, especially in baking and the cakiness that really comes from butter.
“It is a challenge but it’s one that we’ll have to embrace,” he says.
Carmen Rueda, who studied as a classic savoury chef in Barcelona, Spain, says there are many similarities between savoury and pâtisserie.
The self-confessed chocolate lover has worked with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal at his restaurant The Fat Duck.
Rueda says adding spices to sweet pastries is a trend to look out for.
“People can expect to find more spices from pink peppercorns to cardamom, black pepper, star anise and turmeric.
“Each of the spices has a different job and adds different flavour and texture,” she says.