Friday, July 1, 2011

Meilleur Ouvrier de France

I am an experienced baker & chocolate maker, but I I always want to learn more.
I know. I know. We americans always seem to be on a quest for self-perfection.  At least the rest of the world thinks so. But, I am not one of those folks in need of self-mastering everything I develop an overnight hobby for. I happily struggle with so many endeavors (gardening, decorating, photography, fashion and so forth), but really respect those who spend years humbly honing their craft, which leads me to bringing up a chef that I was fortunate to study under recently.

Gerard is no ordinary pastry chef. First of all, France recently awarded him the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, a highly prestigious award bestowed to only a select few craftsman. He went through grueling examinations and competitions to achieve this award. Most importantly, it took years of intensive training! He is among the lucky few to have the right to wear a blue, white, and red ribbon around their collar. With these credentials, you think Gerard might have shown a trace of snobbery. Mais non! Gerard not only taught me loads of additional kitchen skills and techniques, he taught me to trust my sense of taste, harmonize my body in the kitchen, and be passionate each ingredient.

* Gerard never pointed out this superior culinary honor to me. I wouldn’t have known it unless my French husband observed his distinct collar while picking me up from class.