Who has been your favorite mentor?
I have had the pleasure of working with remarkable chefs and teams that have helped me elevate my craft from a young age. If I had to acknowledge one mentor only, I would choose my spiritual father Christophe Michalak. I admired him immensely, even before I meet him, and I had the privilege of working with him for three years. I owe my success in large part to his guidance.
You are the youngest recipient of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ Asia’s Best Pastry Chef award by. How has this title affected your career?
It was fantastic to be recognized with such a prestigious award after three years of hard work and dedication at Caprice restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. Being part of a passionate team in such a competitive city gave me the drive to always push borders with my creations. I didn’t ask for or expect such an award, so I remained grounded. The award certainly gave me additional visibility and helped further my career to a certain degree. Two months after receiving the award, I left Hong Kong; it marked a sensational conclusion to my wonderful story there.
You’ve worked in Paris, Hong Kong and St. Petersburg. What brought you to Dubai?
I always try to move to places that are significantly different. Before coming to Dubai, I had the pleasure of living in Western Europe, Asia and then Russia. I simply knew that my next journey would have to involve a new landscape and culture. More importantly, I had heard that in Dubai people love pastries, so I thought it would be a perfect match. The truth is that my interest in the region has grown, and I have been nothing short of impressed on previous visits. Dubai is full of life, passion and drive. The cultural diversity and the coexistence is fascinating. Living here is enriching in that there is so much to learn from everyone. Also, who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by iconic architecture, a beautiful desert and a gorgeous stretch of sea?
As the newly appointed senior pastry chef, what do you have planned for Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre?
Since joining Four Seasons, I am getting to know the UAE, the place and guests’ preferences. We have just launched a range of pastries at Shai Salon, which is located in Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Jumeirah Beach. I am very proud of each of the creations, as they reflect a beautiful moment from my life. For instance, the cherry eclair is a tribute to my grandfather’s cherry trees, whereas the yuzu and passion fruit cheesecake takes me back to Hong Kong. We are working on more creations and will be introducing them at our restaurants across the resort and hotel.
I can definitely promise that my pastries will be true to my philosophy while catering to the local palate. I truly hope to bring something new to the city with my signature style, and I look forward to this exciting journey.