Mumbai Food: Pastry chef Jean Francois Arnaud talks about his masterclass, spicy Indian cusine
Honoured as the Best Craftsman of France, pastry chef Jean Francois Arnaud talks about his four-day masterclass in the city with budding pastry chefs, imagining eggless pastries, and being wary of spicy Indian food
Tell us about the masterclass you conducted at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Marol.
I conducted a four-day training session, which was to help the students prepare a complete pastry buffet. I also taught them the nitty-gritty of working in a professional kitchen, which includes maintaining cleanliness and the proper use of fresh ingredients.
What were the sessions like?
One of the last sessions I conducted was on mini pastries for buffets in restaurants or for cocktail parties. The recipes were based on French pastry techniques, and I combined flavours such as cardamom and caramel and saffron and apple or pears. We experimented with some traditional choux as well as the inversed method of baking puff pastries and I spoke about the shelf life for pastries, since it tastes best when freshly baked and the taste and texture changes pretty fast, especially in hot and humid Mumbai.
Green tea opera pastry
How are the culinary aesthetics, in so far as pastry art is concerned, different in India from France?
Every country has its own pastry traditions, and in France, it's an intrinsic part of our culture. So, you're sure to find many bakeries around the country. However, in India, it's a little different. Culture is influenced by the natural resources of our countries and the way people transform it. Culture is also the relation between food and religion. We don't have restrictions in terms of ingredients, such as alcohol; in India, as far as I know, there are restrictions on the use of eggs or gelatin. Eggs form a large part of our cuisine and especially for desserts because it serves as the base for sponges, macaroons and so on. It is quite challenging for us to imagine a pastry without eggs!
A session during his four-day training in the city
Tell us about your time here. How has your stay been so far?
This was my first time in Mumbai and I enjoyed myself. Though it wasn't long enough for me to see everything. As for Indian cuisine, I liked it, but I was always afraid of the spiciness.
Winter wood cake
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