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Chef Guillaume Lejeune

Monday, March 19, 2018, 12:01 Hrs  [IST]

During his two-decade long career as a French pastry chef, Chef Guillaume Lejeune has garnered experience in all segments of the hospitality industry and profession. Started his career as a Pastry Chef in the industry, Chef Lejeune worked with renowned hotel brands like Ritz Paris and Fauchon. Pursuing his entrepreneurial aspirations, Chef Lejeune opened his own cafes in Paris. After running these cafes for six years, he switched over to hotel education and joined National Hospitality Institute in the Sultanate of Oman where he worked for 5 years. The journey with the Academy of Pastry Arts started in 2010 when Chef Lejeune joined in their Malaysia centre and opened the first school. He was instrumental in designing the curriculum and setting the high standards the Academy is known for. When Academy of Pastry Arts started India operations, Chef Lejeune joined as Director of Pastry Studies for India. Fondly known as Chef G among his students, he is responsible to lead the team of chefs at the Academy centres in Bangalore and Gurugram.

Q What made you shift to academics leaving a more prospective professional career?
Initially, I was working in Malaysia as a teacher and I decided to switch my job and met my boss chef, Niklesh Sharma. He was looking for a French chef and I was looking for a new job and this is how I ended up, being here.

Q What goes into making of an accomplished Pastry Chef in terms of attitude and aptitude, etc.?
Basically, any area of work requires a lot of passion towards what you do. A pastry chef must be passionate towards baking, he/she must always do what they can do the best and they must also manage their time. Pastry chefs must be focused and they should always be ready to learn new things.

Q How important is it to have an artistic bent of mind to be a Master in Bakery and Patisserie?
According to me, it is very important to have an artistic mind to be a Master in Bakery and Patisserie. I feel before you taste food, you should have the sense of visualising art. Sometimes, students have to make cakes or pastries that look like a show piece. It is very important for the food to be appealing.

Q How specialised career stream is Pastry arts in the general culinary education?
When it comes to general culinary education, not every student is comfortable cooking chicken, fish, etc. Some students don’t like to see blood so it is feasible for them to choose Pastry arts as a career stream if they want to get into baking. All that the students require, is the love for baking.

Q What is your reading of the Indian Culinary Education in comparison to the International Hospitality and Culinary Education?
I am not very familiar with the Indian Culinary Education because I am very new to India but the Indian Culinary Education is very similar to Malaysia. Though what we make here is nice and different.

Q With growing health awareness in the consumers, what kind of research and innovation do you suggest to aspiring chefs?
What I prefer to tell my students is that, they must be innovative, but they must also have the sense of baking healthy cakes and pastries. For example, we use organic bread while we bake, without any chemicals and bread improvers.

Q Who is your inspiration in this profession and your philosophy in life?
I always used to see my mother cooking and one fine day I met a chef who showed me new aspects of baking. This motivated me to get into culinary and bakery education. Now, it has been 20 years, since I am in this profession.

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