François Gimenez: “We must put the quality of the product before the quantity” lifestyle
His cosmopolitan vision of confectionery has led him to develop a narrative where chocolate becomes both an aesthetic and pedagogical element to improving the customer’s culinary education.
With two pastry shops in Lyon to his name and an extensive confectionery curriculum that led him to travel the world, François Gimenez has become one of the most renowned pastry chefs in France. Trained between Italy and Canada and with more than 30 years of experience, this chocolate master turns every sweet creation into a small work of art in an effort to refine the customer’s senses and sensibility by selecting raw materials from their place of origin. Food education begins with dessert.
Q: When did you decide to open your business?
A: At first I wanted to open in Barcelona, but I needed to improve my skills, so I went to work in Italy and then travelled with my wife to Canada. I lived there for ten years and then returned to Lyon to open my own business in 2000.
Q: What is the difference between a chef and a pastry chef?
A: It is different and similar at the same time. One works with savoury and the other with sweet, but the goal is the same: complement the delightful taste of food with the best presentation.
Q: What qualities must a good pastry chef have?
A: Patience is needed to learn properly because skill does not come about on its own. We also have to enjoy learning, and we need ambition to improve our creations.
Q: Do you have to copy to become the best?
A: No, you must be passionate, and you have to try it all in order to discover new things. This does not mean you cannot take inspiration from the classics to develop your own style.
Q: Do you think the way we consume and market desserts will change after this pandemic?
A: I believe that manufacturers will have to change their way of working to put the quality of the product before the quantity, because the customer demands more skilled, elaborate products.
Q: What are the qualities of good chocolate?
A: It needs flavour and a little acidity, and it must be dark with 70% cocoa and very little sweetness. For me, the most authentic chocolate is dark, bittersweet chocolate from South America with floral and fruity flavours.
Q: Do you think signature pastry shops will be the long-term future of the profession?
A: Yes, because this type of pastry shop educates our young people on how to eat healthy and recognise the taste of good food.
Q: Why did you choose XTONE by Porcelanosa for your pastry shop and what is your relationship with the brand?
A: Like artisan pastry chefs and chocolate makers, Porcelanosa works with quality raw materials and turns its creations into pure passion.
Photo by Laurent SCAVONE