一場由文學 美學 料理開啟的感官之旅｜ Bon Voyage Pâtisserie 感官之旅
如果說：做甜點是因為喜歡甜點，倒不如說，甜點背後的故事更是令人感到迷人、深邃。在還沒正式進入學習場域前，那陣子台灣非常瘋迷馬卡龍，就前往台南某知名店家品嘗–馬卡龍，第一次吃到他是扎實帶硬的口感、內餡沒有獨特的風味，就疑惑為何不是大家傳說外酥內軟有如「少女的酥胸」，也就開啟我去找尋馬卡龍的真實滋味，並且翻閱更多馬卡龍的歷史，發現法國早在西元781年就有製作的紀錄，經過時間與歷史的交會至西元1547年義大利梅地奇家族(Catherine de Médicis)與法國公爵的聯姻，更是將義大利甜點作法帶入法國，而至今只要是以杏仁粉、蛋白、糖三元素所做的都泛指馬卡龍，然而單一一款甜點，現今在法國包含南錫、普羅旺斯、巴黎各有獨特做法，看到這些豐富的歷史典故，讓我對法式甜點更是著迷，不得不栽入這個法式甜點世界。
甜點的旅程 不僅是食譜 更是心法
A journey of senses composed of literature, aesthetics and culinary passion
Interviewee/ Zhiyang and Hongchen, pâtissiers of Bon Voyage Pâtisserie Interviewer and Editor/ Daniella
Zhiyang and Hongchen are Bon Voyage Pâtisserie’s pâtissiers. They are an interesting combination of varying characteristics: creativity, absolute tastebuds, discretion and boldness. The day this interview took place, they eagerly prepared for an exquisite afternoon tea, one explaining the origin of the tea while the other joked about his lack of knowledge in the field. Such conflicting dynamic is in fact how they support each other. And when it comes to dessert, they simply couldn’t stop sharing.
An idea seeded will someday grow to harvest
My academic background has nothing to do with desserts. I entered the field with an intention to fulfill the vision I had in my senior project in university. Back when I was studying the correlation between literature and aesthetic based on Mishima Yukio’s works, I constantly came across this idea to incorporate food into the relation and see what effects it could have.
Embracing the world of desserts after university graduation
Instead of articulating my passion for dessert being the cause of my choice of career, it’s rather more about me being fascinated by the stories behind each dessert. Before I officially started out as a pastry chef, people in Taiwan were really crazy about macarons at the time. Hence, I went to a renowned pastry shop in Tainan and tried macaron for the very first time. The one I had was crispy and solid, and the filling was plain. I wondered why it didn’t match up with how people described it, so I started looking into macarons. I found its earliest record in France in the year 781. The Italian recipe and techniques were brought to France in 1547 upon French Queen Catherine’ de Médicis marriage to Henry II of France. Today, macarons generally refer to pastries made with almond power, egg white and sugar. Variations in France alone are ample. The abundant history to French desserts is really enchanting to me.
Struggling along the way to finally starting Bon Voyage
I started as an apprentice, and then worked in hotels, bakery, central kitchen, etc. At first, I had never thought about opening a pastry shop of my own. Later in 2013, as Hongchen had to take care of his dad at home, he started purchasing equipments to run a private dessert studio. It was then I joined the studio, Bon Voyage Pâtisserie, establishing a brand image, designing packaging and products. For the next two years, we worked really hard in online sales as well as meet-up deliveries. We realized that though we were extremely busy, the business was not growing. With insufficient income to sustain, there were many times we almost gave up. Meanwhile, we also started considering other ways out. Then, we collaborated with Blue Cook, selling our desserts in the Italian restaurant in 2014, which helped us realized that in order to fully present the stories and tastes of our desserts, we need to do more than just selling our desserts somewhere. Hence, we came to the conclusion that telling our own stories and presenting a comprehensive dessert experience can only be done by opening a pâtisserie of our own.
The taste of a dessert is like a sonata
French desserts are like a collection of musical classics. Every recipe is a composition consisting of layers and multiple senses that engage your ears, nose, mouth, tongue and heart. Take “Green” for example. It is a cake made with five elements of green including champagne, green apple, sweet citrus mint and spearmint. With shortbread added with pop rocks as base, “Green” is layered with almond cake and jello made with sour mango, mint and green apple. On top of the three tiers is mousse, an essential element of French desserts. The mousse consists of a green apple flavored layer and a champagne flavored layer. All the layers compliment one another perfectly without stealing the show.
It usually takes at least six months to develop a new product. Factors like the season of food ingredients, balance, texture, aroma and visual presentation must all be taken into account. In the final phase of our product development, we usually get all our staff to taste the new product that has been modified 20 to 30 times. During the process, we came up with the name that best fits according to the senses and feelings we have picked up along the way. This is how we finalize a composition.
Desserts are based on not only recipes but also mentality
At the beginning of my career at Arsen Pâtisserie as an apprentice, a major part of my job was also to taste desserts. Chef was always reminding me to clearly articulate what I had tasted as well as specific feelings triggered by the tastes. If an apprentice could only make statements like “It’s delicious”, or “It’s not tasty” but unable to articulate the reasoning, his learning will be confined to merely recipes. Once, I tasted Master Pierre
Herme’s classic “rose, lychee and raspberry pound cake”. I was in awe of the technique he used in linking the seemingly irrelevant ingredients. The kind of boldness is what inspires me to constantly be open-minded and proceed on my own journey of senses.