What’s your culinary background?
I started training as a pastry chef since I was 16. Since then, I worked for many years in Paris with Fauchon and later in New york as the executive pastry chef for . In 2011, I started my own bakery.
What inspires you and your pastries?
I’m always looking for inspiration everywhere – from a color to a fabric to a story someone tells me. In the past three years, the city of New York, for example, has been a huge inspiration.
You have been awarded many accolades – how did you feel when you were named “Pastry Chef of the Year” this year?
It’s a once in a lifetime thing to win the James Beard. I felt very honored and grateful for the support of so many people that made it possible.
How have your culinary experiences with chefs like influenced your current cuisine?
was a great mentor to me and taught me a lot not just about cooking, but customer service.
Do you prefer to bake traditional pastries or new creations?
I love them both, and I think there’s always got to be a balance of the two.
How did you come to create the cronut?
The Cronut™ took over 2 months and over 10 recipes to perfect. But it was just one of the many creations that we do. We are constantly changing the menu, and add in new items every 6-8 weeks.
Did you ever expect its success?
I really loved the product, but I don’t think anyone could’ve anticipated this level of success.
You’ve just released the recipe to bake at home – why?
I know a lot of fans were excited to try their hand at it. It’s not practical to use the same recipe we do in the bakery at home, and so it took a while for us to develop one that the home cook would feel comfortable with. It is still a very challenging recipe, but we have a lot of amazing home cooks out there.
Does your new book (Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes)include other creations of yours?
Of course, we have recipes for all skill levels from Beginner to Advance and it includes some of my favorite things from our madeleines to canneles to the new Frozen S’mores.
What’s in store for the next few years?
I hope we continue to create and never loose that energy for change.
Any plans of expanding?
I’m excited to be opening in Tokyo the summer of next year! That was a really big decision for all of us, and the whole team is looking forward to all the amazing inspiration we’ll gain there.
Find out more about Chef Ansel here, and get hold of the Cronutrecipe here.