Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort - Luxury hotel (RNT 105813) - Q&A with Pastry Chef Jeisson Camilo Mendez

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Q&A with Pastry Chef Jeisson Camilo Mendez

What inspired you to become a Pastry Chef?

I have always liked sweets and I was fortunate to have my first job in a pastry shop as a waiter, from that point I was able to see how they worked in a real kitchen focused on pastries and desserts and see how they played with colors, flavors and textures. It was there, where I fell in love with all things pastry and from that moment I decided to focus on this beautiful art.

Who was your role model in the kitchen?

It is difficult to name just one, there is the chef Franck Aragon who has always left the flag of the country Colombia high in all the competitions he has been representing; In the same way, the French chef Johan Martin is a great inspiration since his creativity and work are impeccable.

What are your favorite flavor combinations?

My favorite is chocolate and nuts such as hazelnut and pistachio, although I like to experiment a lot with local fruits since we have that fortune here in Colombia, which other countries do not have.

Could you name 3 tools in your kitchen that you couldn’t live without?

Primordial a gramera, the spatula and the beater. These tools are essential since pastry is very precise and does not allow mistakes.

What do you think of today’s trends/restrictions like gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free?

I think that today it is a great challenge that we have as chefs. It is a constant challenge to make healthier and more natural preparations without compromising taste, textures and presentation.

What is the most complicated dessert you have ever had to prepare?

So far it has been the Buche de Noel, Sofitel’s signature dessert in December. With this dessert we were winners of the first place worldwide for the best Buche de Noel. The dessert had more than 10 techniques including chocolate sculpture, mix of flavors and textures. It took two very intense weeks to achieve the desired result.

What is your “dream” dessert’?

The mille-feuille is a very simple dessert that provides a mixture of exceptional flavors.

What is the dessert that we should all know how to make?

I think it would be a chocolate cake, it is something very simple to do but very basic for any special occasion. There is no party without a good chocolate cake!

What is your favorite ingredient?

Without a doubt, chocolate, since it is a very versatile ingredient, mixes perfectly and has an infinite number of uses.

Tell us a little about the posters at Sofitel Calablanca Baru.

At the hotel we have a wide variety of desserts since we have several food outlets. In the Calablanca l restaurant we have a journey of classic desserts around the world, such as the New York cheesecake, the pavlova, the creme brûlée among others. At the Humo restaurant, we risk a little more with desserts with an Asian focus with flavors such as spicy tamarind, lyches, pistachio and matcha. In the Bahia restaurant, the desserts are focused on local flavors such as the very typical plaster of the region, the mango and passion fruit cake among others, and finally we have our classic pastry boutique that should not be missing. Here we try to combine the two cultures (French and Colombian) with modern approaches with local fruits such as Gianduja and lulo, lemon mint etc.

What dessert recipe are you going to provide us?

A great classic of French pastry, a creme brûlée! 1000g are needed. of milk cream, 1000gr. of evaporated milk, 500gr of milk, 500gr. of yolks, 200 gr of sugar and two units of vanilla pod. The vanilla pod is infused with half of the milk cream, the evaporated milk and the regular milk. Let it rest for 24 hours. The next day the total weight of the milk is heated and scalded with the yolks and sugar. Transfer to containers, 160 grams each. Bake at 120 degrees with humidity 3 in a bain-marie for 45 minutes! And that’s it, enjoy!

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