Lifestyle

Interview with Chef Pascal Tepper

Founder of Pascal Tepper and “Meilleur Ouvrirer de France”

 

INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY

MARIE-CHRISTINE TAYAH

 

MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH CUISINE

The art of French cuisine is the combination of French dishes, gourmet specialties, delicious recipes, and blissful ingredients. It’s an ultimate experience that makes wonderful use of all senses, to reach superior levels of gastronomic satisfaction. French cuisine feeds fills one’s hunger and one’s soul. Lifestyle highlights ‘Pascal Tepper,’ the ultimate modern French dine-in bakery, known for great food and delightful experience.

 

PASCAL TEPPER’S SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I was born on 23rd December 1960 in Pequencourt, a typical French Village in the north of France, not far from Lille. I went to work in my parents bakery business, which I took over in 1992 with my wife Catherine. My Passion for baking and my love for developing new recipes means I regularly teach these skills at home and abroad.

 

MEILLEUR OUVRIER DE FRANCE

Meilleur Ouvrier de France is a title bestowed on only the very best in their chosen field. The title was created in 1921 to celebrate the specialist craftsman of the French Republic and protect these skills for future generations. The medal is awarded by the president of France at a special ceremony every four years. I am proud to have been awarded a title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in the year 2000 for my skills as a Master Craftsman in Baking.

 

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE SLOGAN?

Always go farther, and always opt for the best!

 

HOW DID IT ALL START?

It all started back in 2010. I visited Dubai and took part in GulFood, with the notion of creating a bakery franchise. At that time, Sen Ramsamy was working for the Atlas Group, and was on the look out for an interesting F&B franchise. Voila. We liked each other. He came back the next day and asked me more questions about this idea. When I was back in France, we exchanged email communication and together we built the bakery franchise concept into a reality. Afterwards, he presented my franchise concept to the management at Atlas Group and the proposals were declined. Still, believing in my project, we reworked the presentation to meet the franchise standards and when we presented the proposal for the second time, the board were surprised but on taking a second look at the new ideas, they were convinced. Subsequently, they visited me in France. One year later, in 2011, we opened our flagship bakery in Dubai Media City.

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS?

We are poised to open our second outlet in the UAE – a 650 m2 contemporary Pascal Tepper Dine-in Bakery in Abu Dhabi. We also have another three in the pipeline for the capital, plus another outlet in Dubai. We will also be opening in Qatar in 2015. We are committed to expanding too many other countries; for example, I will be travelling with the general manager of Pascal Tepper, Michel Saab, to Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, in order to meet new investors and discuss a new franchise opportunity for Pascal Tepper in KSA.

 

WHAT IS YOUR ADDED VALUE IN TERMS OF STRATEGY AND PRODUCT?

We always listen to our customers and work really hard on the marketing strategies and communication, with Elena Khalil. When it comes to our products, all our pastries are made of pure butter, with a 33% minimum percentage of butter. In terms of fresh merchandise, we always work with fresh, seasonal produce. We make everything from scratch, so in a way, all our dishes are home-made – from meats, fish, vegetables and of course, our bread and pastries. Many of our recipes have sauces, fillings and toppings that are unique to Pascal Tepper! We also make some of our chocolates, and ice cream too!

 

WHAT DOES CUISINE MEAN TO YOU IN ONE WORD?

Quality, fresh ingredients that are lovingly turned into wonderful dishes. It also means listening to what our customers want to try.

 

For instance, we added the ‘tartare’ sauces in response to our clients’ need and we also added a summer menu with fresh pasta and tomatoes.

 

DO YOU ALWAYS LIVE IN A CULINARY PARADISE OR DO YOU OFTEN ENCOUNTER OBSTACLES?

Life is made of obstacles. Every day we encounter obstacles. What we need to do is overcome those obstacles. Nothing is simple. Besides, whenever we move to work in a new location, we face technical and logistic issues. However, having a local partner helps a lot. Work is a daily questioning. Problems never fade away but we always need to be aware of what we’re achieving and we need to evolve with the same energy. In every problem, I look for the opportunity. There is always one there somewhere!

 

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR COOKING INSPIRATION FROM?

I would say that cooking is the result of being inspired to create, and much of my inspiration comes from what I see around me. Nature is a great teacher. She offers us many elements, layers, colours, shapes, and combinations. I like to see what speaks to me, and use these elements and transform them into my dishes. Mixing unusual ingredients with staple ones is in itself a form of art. What I basically do is research. I discover new ingredients and add them to food. Everything has a function.

 

WOULD YOU SHARE WITH US THE FIRST RECIPE THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND?

The traditional French Baguette recipe!

 

WHAT WOULD YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUNG CHEFS BE?

Be perseverant in life, continuously require the best, and always be very alert!

 

THE TRADITIONAL FRENCH BAGUETTE RECIPE!

BY CHEF PASCAL

 

INGREDIENTS

• 1 Kg of flour.

• 20 g of salt.

• 10 g of baking powder.

• 700 g of water.

• a bit of yeast.

 

PREPARATION

1. Mold 4 minutes in first speed.

2. Mold 5 to 6 minutes at high speed.

3. Let sit the dough for one hour.

4. Fold the dough and let out the carbon dioxide.

5. Empty the paste and fold it in four –this way we let the oxygen go in again.

6. Keep it in the fridge until the next day for about 12 hours at 0 to -5° C.

7. The next day, the paste would have doubled in volume.

8. Shape it and we let sit for 45 minutes.

9. Bake it in the oven at a temperature of 250° C.

10. Enjoy the delicious traditional French baguette.