CHEF TALK: FIRE IT UP! with NICOLAS BACHEYRE
Nicolas was the first Pastry Chef I interviewed for Chef Talk – and it was a super start. I was invited by Sopexa for a workshop to learn all about cream – which is where I met Nicolas who had flown in from France especially to be part of this workshop. The demonstration itself was great fun, but what made it more lively was the non-stop banter by Nicolas – he has a wonderful sense of humour. I loved his philosophy of simplicity when it came to decorating the desserts – minimum fuss yet striking to look at. I love that his competition pits him against his father – his father came in second at the World championships, and Nicolas’s ambition is to be #1 when he participates in Lyon in 4 years’ time – and I won’t be surprised if he does.
Name: Nicolas Bacheyre
Restaurant: Un Dimanche à Paris, Paris
From: Toulouse, South of France
Culinary School: Centre Formation Apprentice, Toulouse, France
Knife Hand: Right
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
My dad is a baker and a pastry chef. My grandfather was a pastry chef too. So I guess it was like a tradition. Honestly, I don’t like sweet, but I have to taste it in order to control the taste but I wouldn’t feed myself with it. A lot of people don’t understand why I don’t like sweet and I always reply that a fisherman doesn’t necessarily like fish – he just likes the act of fishing. It’s the same for me – I love the way of making cakes and seeing the happiness in the eyes of people when they try my cake. When I was 7 years old, I was decorating yule logs at Christmas.
If it’s the last weekend on earth – what city are you eating in and what are you eating?
I would be with my parents and wife and my sister – the most people in my life in the South of France at my parent’s home. I would be having a meal that my mom made every Sunday – a day where the entire family would get together – a huge roasted chicken with potatoes.
If you left Dubai to cook somewhere else, where would you go?
Dubai. Why? Look outside – everything is clean, the weather is always sunny, the people are welcoming – it’s just perfect everywhere.
Who is the person you would most like to cook for?
It would be my grandmother. I would make her any kind of cake. She died before I started working and I think I would have made her proud.
How would you describe your food philosophy?
Its only with good ingredients that you are going to make good plates – you can only make good with good.
If you were an ingredient what would you be, and why?
I would be a chocolate. Because its smooth, sweet… I don’t know – I will give you my wife’s phone number and you can ask her.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
I worked in Florida, USA for two years under a French chef – Laurent Branlard, who is a twice world champion in pastry. When I had to leave Florida because of my visa, I turned to Laurent and told him I don’t know what to do and where to go. He told me – there are two different ways – you can either go to a place that is not satisfying but you will earn a lot of money as restaurants are always looking for French chefs, or you can go to Paris or London where you will have to work very very hard for not much money but where you are going to improve yourself day by day. Now you choose the road you want to travel on and in 10 years I will come to see you and we will see where you come. And he came and met me one month ago and he told me he was proud of me because he felt I had chosen the right path.
Most important ingredient? I tell my team always, that the most important ingredient is ‘love’. The cake that you make for your mum or a family member – somebody you love – the look in their eyes when they see it – there is no price for that. When you cook for someone you love, even though it may look the same, the taste will definitely be different.
A chef that inspires you? My dad – Jean Louis. My dad started making pastries when he was 25 years old – which is pretty old and he started this when he met my mom as her father was a pastry chef. After time, he started taking part in competitions – he became French champion, European champion and he finished second at the World championship – and I think this is a good revenge, because before he became a pastry chef, he was a postman. What inspires me the most about him is his courage – of never giving up.
Favourite food from your childhood/ Describe one of your first food memories. That is something I still ask my mom, and I am 33 years old – I ask her to make spaghetti bolognaise. She hasn’t given me the recipe, but even if she did, it would not have the same taste – it’s all about love.
THIS OR THAT
Food on a skewer or food in a tiny spoon?
Hot curry or haute cuisine?
Buffet or sit-down dinner?
Mints or gum?
Soup or salad?
Greek yogurt or cream?
Butter or olive oil?
Chicken breast or chicken thigh?
Baked or fried?
Waffles or crepes?
Lobster or steak?
And lastly, cake or pie?
Well, that’s that! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!