Pastry Insights

Look into my eyes.  Can you see my soul?

Now listen carefully, can you hear my stomach?

If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second, then you’re on your way to becoming a good skeptical inquirer of human behavior.

We’re not even sure if we can define the soul.  Someday I’ll get around to it, but now there’s more important work to be done.

For I love dessert.  And there’s a good chance that you do, too.

The best desserts in the world come from France.  Have a problem with that statement?  Let’s fight it out.  Preferably over cafe and a mont blanc.

Here’s some of my best evidence, a French contest for the best pastry chef in that country.  We’ve watched three seasons so far.  It’s incredible.

This is a culture that puts a high priority on quality ingredients in small amounts.  They prioritize taste first, technique second, and aesthetics third.  But their standards in all those areas are much higher than, say, in the USA.

They have fun in the area of competition.  There is respect shown in the arena among competitors, and much greater respect shown to judges.  Judges not only act as the experts who are not challenged, but also as mentors; they help the contestants during the shows.

Finally, these contestants have dignity in work ethic and chosen profession.  These are people who may only be 21 years old, yet have 7 years of experience working in a restaurant or pastry shop.  They are proud to be in the profession.  It’s a profession that they can make a decent living, raise a decent family, and have a decent life.  There is no “get rich quick” scheme, and no “exit strategy” to go along.  Just hard work and good products.

I can remember a time when the USA had many of the same ethical standards, but they seem to be lacking today.  I haven’t watched a US based cooking contest for some time, but they don’t seem to breath the same air as these French programs.

Watch if you dare, they are guaranteed to make you hungry.  Warning: No English subtitles.  It’s more fun if you understand the French, but it’s not necessary.

Bon appetit!