Valrhona’s Words into Action Momentum – February 2022
Valrhona is shaping the future of Responsible Gastronomy
Valrhona’s first series of events for 2022 saw an exceptional culinary afflux in Dubai, coming from Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE for this extraordinary Pierre Hermé and Frédéric Bau event.
Being able to witness the gathering of great thinkers, visionaries, passionates and game changers in the pastry scene is an absolute regal and falls deep into Valrhona’s values: Empowering minds through passion, excellence, and commitment.
In line with its core mission building a responsible gastronomy, Valrhona was able to gather top pastry chefs around the world to generate discussion, new ways of thinking and innovation around the subject “less means more” from famous Frédéric Bau’s book “Reasoned Gourmandise”. By fostering this collective movement and bringing together chocolate, and gastronomy players, Valrhona aims to push boundaries for a gastronomy that does good and tastes great.
“In a world where everything extravagant is considered great, I was impressed by the willingness to change, do better and disrupt the current trend to focus on building a better tomorrow with Chefs coming from the entire region, taking ownership for the health of their customers and choice in their kitchen. Seeing everyone being so eager to learn about measure and balance in a world that pushed towards excessiveness, is making me proud of what we are trying to accomplish at Valrhona. Where the culture is about going higher, stronger, and bigger, it touches me to my core to see the growing interest in understanding that less is more pleasure. It is maybe a new page for Dubai Gastronomy » said Frédéric Bau.
“I always had the willingness to challenge myself – in my life and in my work as a pastry chef, to break boundaries in our industry – like Frédéric Bau that I consider a pioneer in our field. Exploring new ways to offer ever more gourmet pastry, but also respectful of everyone’s well-being, is important today. It is a new line of work, of which taste remains the main axiom. It is a new way of thinking about the pastry of tomorrow. I am very happy to have accompanied Frédéric to Dubai to bring this idea of Reasoned Gourmandise. Like this city in perpetual evolution, we had the chance to exchange with chefs from all horizons, who came to understand and participate to this pastry revolution.” said Pierre Hermé, called the “Picasso of Pastry” by Vogue USA for having created the modern concept of Haute Patisserie, now world renowned.
Since Valrhona is focused on listening, finding solution together and challenging mindset within the industry and hand in hand with its customers, it only makes sense to get attendees experience in words. For Glenn Noel, Chef Pastry Ecole Valrhona who was working behind the scenes to create this event with Frédéric Bau and IMEA Valrhona team, “It was an amazing experience to work with these 2 iconic pastry chefs who have given so much more than we can imagine to the industry and to have created a legacy for future generations. To see they are still being part of the evolution of today’s patisserie is an inspiration that pushes me to rethink my way of working. “While Amine Himawi, Pastry chef and trainer Chef Middle East who accompanied the pastry preparation: “A huge thank you to Valrhona to be this Avant-guard movement and allowing me to meet 2 icons in the high pastry world. Having the chance to learn more about Reasoned Gourmandise inspires me to develop more recipes with the less is more concept; it was an incredible experience since it allowed us to interact with Valrhona Cercle V Chefs, share tips and vision on how we can follow the lead of this revolution.”
Eka Mochamad, Head Culinary At.mosphere Burj Khalifa Dubai told us that “To host the first kick-off event – an intimate cocktail reception – with world-class brand Valrhona, is extremely delightful and is definitely something to be proud of. It gave us the chance to be more innovative and creative in using Valrhona products in many ways such as the savory cuisine that was served on the night.” For Mathilde Boumelsa – GCC Regional Pastry Chef for Ladurée: “What this event represents to me is a quest for evolution such as how to rethink our way of doing in comparison to what we have learnt at school.”
Travelling all the way from North Africa, Mrs. Lamia Charfi, Owner and Pastry chef of “Patisserie Lamia Charfi” in Sfax couldn’t believe her eyes: “It is a dream of a lifetime to be able to meet with Pierre Hermé and Frédéric Bau in such an intimate setting and be able to interact closely with them. We feel extremely privileged to have had such an experience with Valrhona”
As for Steve Thiery, Executive Pastry Chef La Mamounia Marrakech, Morocco: “The event was an incredible chance to reconnect, meet wonderful chefs and share a vision that can be implemented in the sweet experience we offer our customers. It pushed me to think outside the box and analyze recipes to reduce fat and sugar and remove the unnecessary to go back to a focus on taste.”
Joining the event from Qatar, Ashutosh Kumar, Hilton Al Salwa Doha says “This could not have come at a better time and place! Two of the greatest pastry geniuses leading the way forward to a healthier, “reasoned” and sustainable pastry. This event is going to be an absolute game changer in the region and perhaps 16 years from now, some of us are going to talk about it in the same way Chef Frédéric Bau spoke about the 2004 event where Chef Pierre Gagnaire changed his thought process.”
From Kuwait, Soufiane Bashnika, Executive Chef at Nejoud, “it was a memorable experience: the open discussion, the approach, and being able to hear such icons with Pierre Hermé’s experience and the approach of Frédéric Bau that succeeded in defying the obsession with calories in his book ‘Reasoned Gourmandise’ as he offers a new healthy and virtuous pastry.” While for Dragan Rucnov, Executive pastry chef at Al Bustan Palace -Ritz Carlton Oman, “it was an honor to meet Frédéric Bau and Pierre Hermé. It was really a high performance to gather everyone and host it in such a beautiful venue – from floor to ceiling, attendees and hosts, it had the WOW factor all the way through.”
Held at the SLS Hotel, in the center of Dubai Downtown District, Chefs, culinary experts and passionate rejoiced around the principle of pastry (r)evolution – “hosting two pastry legends such as Pierre Hermé and Frédéric Bau was a wonderful experience and a great match for what our brand represents. We hope to set the tone for what’s to come by bringing more great minds and talents to our venues and share our vision of the industry.” says Claudio Cardoso – head culinary SLS Dubai.
The final words for the end: the IMEA Valrhona team was astonished to see over 250 Valrhona Chefs coming together to celebrate change. “Valrhona is proud to federate chefs of the IMEA region for a better gastronomy of tomorrow. It is essential that people see that Dubai is not only a vacation or business stop amongst travelers and residents – but it is also the ideal location for high-quality gastronomy and excellence offered by Local and International chefs with so many talents. Valrhona is proud to support them and be part of their journey.” says Guillaume Lafaix, IMEA Business Unit Manager.
Juliana Lepan, International Marketing Director Valrhona, joining the event from France, was able to witness first-hand the evolution: “this is a revolution in the pastry world with a quest for health: how to totally rethink our traditional pastry recipes by reducing fat, sugar, being more vegetal and with no compromise on great taste and pleasure. This is not the philosophy of “without” but more the philosophy of the meaning being applied. It’s about finding the right ingredients for the right need.”
She adds: “We represent 0.14% of the cacao produced worldwide – however following an internal survey, we realized that we are chosen by 2/3 of the Michelin star chefs in France for instance. It comforts us in believing that even as a small scale, we can be the leader of change for a better tomorrow.”
Valrhona next event will be held in March with world-renowned Frederic Cassel, Vincent Guerlais, Pascal Lac, Eric Vergne, Glenn Noel, Sébastien Bouillet coming together for an extraordinary event in Dubai where pastry world cup, tradition versus modern approach, sourcing and traceability and e-commerce tips for chefs will be discussed by masters in their field. Stay tuned!
“While we are the merchants of our customers’ happiness, we’re also the protectors of their wellbeing” Frédéric Bau
VALRHONA, TOGETHER, GOOD BECOMES BETTER
Valrhona has been a partner of artisans of taste since 1922 and is a pioneer and reference in the world of chocolate. Its mission, “Together, good becomes better,” expresses the strength of its commitment. With its partners, chefs, and cacao producers, Valrhona imagines the best in chocolate to create a fair and sustainable cacao industry and to inspire gastronomy that is good, beautiful, and just. Building direct relationships over the long term with producers, seeking the next chocolate innovation and sharing expertise are what move Valrhona on a daily basis. At chefs’ side, Valrhona supports artisans. By constantly pushing the boundaries of creativity, the company helps them in their quest for singularity. Thanks to its ongoing advocacy for this purpose, Valrhona is proud to have obtained in January 2020 the demanding B Corporation® certification that rewards those companies in the world who are the most committed to success, transparency, and social and environmental responsibility. This distinction is recognition for Valrhona’s “Live Long” sustainable development strategy, characterized by the aspiration to build together with producers, employees, taste professionals and chocolate amateurs a model that has positive impact for all. To choose Valrhona is to choose a commitment to chocolate that respects people and the planet.
About SLS Hotel Dubai
Located in the Downtown district, SLS Dubai offers incomparable 360-degree views over the city, with unobstructed views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, along with a clear overhead of the calming Dubai Creek. The impressive 75-storey tower makes SLS Dubai one of the tallest hotels and residences in the region. Developed in collaboration with international architecture firm Aedas, SLS Dubai features 254 expertly designed hotel rooms by acclaimed designer Paul Bishop, 371 residential units, 321 hotel apartments and in true SLS fashion, contemporary art, sleek accents & exceptional fittings that are unique characteristics of the brand’s DNA. Bishop, along with his team at Bishop Design, are responsible for the design of the hotel in its entirety, including all of the F&B venues, public spaces as well as the rooms.