Anne Gerbaud, at the age of 29, is the free spirit of pastry, having climbed all the ladders to become a chef in very prestigious houses. She plans to open her own business soon.
Today, she tells us about her journey.
An interview full of tenderness and sweetness… just like her!
1 – Can you summarize your professional background?
I did an HNC in hospitality and catering, where I started doing internships in cooking and pastry in Michelin-starred restaurants. This is really where I discovered the world of gourmet pastry. I then decided to take additional desserts courses in a restaurant in Rennes (Brittany). I came across a very passionate chef who made me want to do this job. After a year in this city, I went for a year to Granville, Normandy, to work in the chocolate and ice cream business. I then joined the Shangri-la hotel in Paris at the age of 25. I was just starting my career. I stayed in this Parisian hotel for 4 years where I had the chance to work with chef Michael Bartocetti, the pastry chef of the hotel at that time. He allowed me to discover all the pastry chef positions. Finally, I left Shangri-La to become a pastry chef at the Restaurant Loiseau Rive Gauche, a Michelin star restaurant.
2 – How did you fall in love with pastry?
At the age of 6, I absolutely wanted to make birthday cakes. So, my mother gave me a children’s cookbook and my grandmother made me a small apron. I nurture this passion and make cakes since my childhood.
3 – At home, who were the people who appreciated these cakes?
Pastry, in our home, is a women’s story. All the women in our house loved sugar. My sister, my mother, my grandmother…
4 – Sugar and sweets often have a link with childhood. If you had to share a story about a cake, which one would describe as your very own Proust madeleine?
I have many memories with my great-grandmother. She had a garden with strawberries and raspberries, with which she made her pies… It’s a very good memory.
This is the most important thing for me today, because I work in an eco-friendly pastry business, and by working with good products at the right season and with passionate producers, I’m honouring these memories.
5 – Are you a chef in a restaurant today? What are your future plans?
After two years at the Loiseau Rive gauche, I have just left my position to devote myself to a new project: that of starting my own business.
I want a pastry shop that reflects my vision but, above all, I want it to be in Brittany so that I work with the producers of this region who nourish the same values as mine; namely to work with organic and local products and promote reasonable production…. I would like to produce without waste and transmit all these values to my customers.
6 – As a young chef, what do you expect from the chocolate you work with? Should it have ethical, eco-friendly values?
I like to know where the cocoa used in my chocolate comes from, how it was grown. Are we respecting humans and nature? etc. These are, first of all, the types of questions I’ll ask myself.
Then, my meeting with producers and my passionate partners will also play a role in my decision-making. There is nothing more important to me than highlighting their products on the plate.
7 – What kind of support would you like to receive from your partners as an Entrepreneurial Chef?
Transparency and see that their values echo mine. I am not in a logic of productivity but more into seasonality: respect for the product and the locality is more important to me. For example, this summer we didn’t have a very good season due to the weather. As for the cherries, we had very little time to work with them and use them as a dessert. This does not mean that I will look for cherries from another country to continue offering this dessert.
I have complete confidence in the partners I work with and prefer to support them when the weather conditions are not helping.
8 – If you had to give one piece of advice to a young apprentice who dreams of getting started, what would it be?
Believe in yourself! If you really like pastry making, it’s important that you trust yourself. Admittedly, it’s not an easy job, but there’s room for everyone. Everyone has their vision of pastry, their techniques, their way of working with the products. Arriving at the hotel as a clerk, it was not easy to fit into the mould or make a name for yourself. At the time I did not have much experience and the standard requirement was at least the Pastry Diploma (BTM). But meeting Chef Bartocetti changed everything. He gives everyone a chance when he knows that you are passionate and want to work hard. So, I was able to learn and evolve while keeping my free spirit personality!
So, my advice would be to keep this flame, this passion, even when times are hard. I know it’s not always easy. But we must fight for our values… and it works!
Discover alll Anne Gerbaud’s creations right here!