A Passion For Pastry With Chef Amaury Guichon
Welcome to the world of Amaury Guichon, where everything from a big blue sea dragon to a roulette wheel and a rotary telephone is made into a gastronomical wonder.
France — a country characterized by its expertise, tradition and culture dedicated to the art of pastries. Some of the world’s most delicious confectionery exports have come to life from the French, including macaroons and mille feuille and, of course, the famous pain au chocolat. Another noteworthy export: chef Amaury Guichon.
Having grown up in the Haute-Savoie region of France, neighbouring the French-speaking part of Switzerland, chef Guichon followed his passion for pastry by completing a two-year apprenticeship in Geneva, as well as continuing to deepen his knowledge of pastry at the prestigious Maison Lenôtre in Paris.
After 17 years of devoting himself to the pastry industry, Guichon realized his dream and decided to open his first pastry school, The Pastry Academy, in Las Vegas in 2019.
Today, chef Guichon is a world-renowned pastry chef who has been teaching high-level pastry skills in his master classes around the world, as well as via the The Pastry Academy, in the hopes of inspiring others to start their own version of a sweet career.
Q: Would you describe yourself as a pastry architect?
A: I think we could say that.
Q: Who inspires you and where do you get your ideas for cake decoration and design?
A: No one inspires me, per se, and creativity and designs can be found everywhere. My strength is being able to take a vision and make it come alive.
Q: Where did you learn your high-level pastry skills?
A: I did a classic intensive pastry training in France and Switzerland 16 years ago and worked extremely hard the past six years to develop my own style and techniques.
Q: What part of the world do you find has the highest appreciation and skill when it comes to all things related to desserts?
A: The easy answer would be France, as we have a very deeply rooted connection with the high-end pastry heritage; however, thankfully, I have been blessed with travelling around the world and meeting extremely passionate people in the industry. I believe the appreciation is growing worldwide at a very high pace.
Q: What are some of your favourite ingredients for baking and creating confectionery masterpieces?
A: As I am often associated with chocolate, I would say it is accurate to answer “chocolate,” as it is easily usable as a flavour, a texture and allows us to create very complex designs.
Q: Between visual and taste, what comes first for you? Do you ever have to compromise either one to make a creation come to life?
A: The style I developed is without compromise: 100 per cent of both. But, if I had to make one, it would have to be on the esthetic [and] never the flavour, as it is the fundamental of pastry.
Q: What do you love about the dining scene in Las Vegas?
A: Even though Las Vegas remains a small city compared to other metropolises in America, the tourism attracts a very diverse food scene into the strip. If you need to celebrate in Las Vegas, you will always be able to find the perfect place.
Q: What has been your favourite confectionery masterpiece so far?
A: As cheesy as it sounds, I think the next one will always be my favourite.
Q: Who are some of the most noteworthy/high-profile people for whom you’ve made your creations?
A: Probably Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson or private events for large brands, such as Louis Vuitton.
Q: Who haven’t you made a cake/pastry creation for, but would like to?
A: Brad Pitt.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring bakers, pastry chefs and cake artists? What is the main thing you want your students at The Pastry Academy to take with them?
A: In this industry, if you want to accomplish any level of success, you have to be willing to make enormous sacrifices, to remain humble (the less ego, the better) and always remember to work for your customers.
Q: Your Pastry Academy is an intensive, 10-week program covering all the bases: pastry, plated dessert, chocolate, ice cream, danish, bread, candy and chocolate showpieces. The program starts from the beginning and goes all the way to more advanced skills, and so for whom is your academy designed?
A: We’ve had already-accomplished professionals looking to acquire more skills and learning more in-depth science behind pastry, people doing reconversion and young, inspiring pastry chefs coming out of high school.
Q: What’s your favourite comfort food?
Q: What is one thing that you will never, ever eat?
A: Nothing — I am pretty adventurous.
Q: What will we always find in the Guichon refrigerator?
A: Avocado and fresh fruits.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
A: I try to keep my personal life private, as I believe people are more interested in my craft than in myself. Aside from my pastry and chocolate creations, most people do not know much about me.
Q: Do you prefer sweet or salty?
Q: Are you good at cooking? Do you love to cook?
A: I started my training with two years of cooking. I know lots of basics and I often cook for my wife, but I do not consider myself a great cook.
Q: What are your favourite combinations of flavours to implement in your pastries?
A: My philosophy is to extract the maximum amount of flavour of one highlighted ingredient using textures. I only allow myself two pairings that usually complement each other.
Q: What is the secret ingredient to your success?
A: My wife, as I met her at a crucial point in my career, and she helped me as much on a personal and professional level to become the man I am today.
Q: What does la dolce vita/the sweet life mean to you?
A: Being able to do what you love on a daily basis [and] making a decent living; it is extremely rewarding.