Chef Jean-François Arnaud is one of the most renowned pâtissiers from France and a legend in his own right. Recently, he was in Delhi NCR for a six-day masterclass at the Academy of Pastry and Culinary Arts in Gurugram from May 10 to 15, 2022 for aspiring pastry chefs. He imparted hands-on training to the chefs on French patisserie skills. In the master class, he shared his expertise in French entremet, petit gateau, and tea cakes among others.
Born in a family of pastry chefs, being a pâtissiers came naturally to Jean-François Arnaud. He truly is an expert in his art, having received the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2000, more popularly known as MOF. The title is considered to be one of the highest honors for not just chefs but all sorts of craftsmen in France. Only those who not just strive but achieve perfection are bestowed with this honour. Since its inception in 1925, only 200 chefs have been honoured with this title, Jean-François Arnaud being one of them.
While reminiscing about his childhood and how his journey of being a pastry chef began, Jean says, "I was born in a kitchen. My father was a pastry chef, my grandfather was a pastry chef and my daughter is also a pastry chef. I used to see my father cook when I was very young and by the time I was eight, I began to crack eggs for everything to be cooked in the kitchen. Before going to school, I used to cut strawberries and walnuts. My holiday was in the kitchen. It happens very seldom that you see your father work. If you're born in a kitchen, a bakery, or if your father is an artisan, only then you can witness your family working and you get that direction. Nowadays, that doesn't happen anymore because the kitchens are close now."
We asked him about the best part of being a pastry chef, to which he said, "Initially when you're in the kitchen, you suffer a lot because there is just so much to learn. Even when you start your career, you suffer because there is a lot of work. With time, when you get the hang of your profession and start creating things, you start enjoying your work. All you need is to give it some time."
Having dedicated almost all his life to his profession, Chef Jean plans to impart his knowledge and expertise to the budding pastry chefs across the world. His association with APCA and other culinary institutes across the world is a testament to it. He says, "At this moment, I want to share what I know. After you become a MOF, you share your expertise. Of course, creation is a part of my job, but exchanging knowledge and teaching the younger generation about how to combine flavours and what makes a good french pastry is equally important."