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Memories are made of these

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-23 16:29

 Memories are made of these

Yannick Oppermann puts the finishing touches on desserts for guests at the Peninsula Beijing's afternoontea. Provided toChina Daily

After a recent cooking demonstration at the Peninsula, Oppermann gets animated at a suggestion that making puff pastry from scratch is a waste of time. But isn't the pastry easily found in a grocer's freezer case just as good?


When you are creating desserts and presenting them at a table, he says, "it's like you are sending out a part of you. You cannot compare that with something that you just go into a shop and buy. I really take pleasure in making my own puff pastry, to see it proofing, then baking in the oven.

"And the butter you choose when you make your own pastry must be good," he says, "so you will have a better taste, a better crispness."

Nowadays, he says, it's a fast life and people don't cook at home, even in France. But there are no big secrets to it, he says, just training and practice.

"When you say 'nice dessert', people think right away 'difficult', 'complicated', 'too sophisticated for me'".

Opperman tells a recent cooking class that anyone can get tasty results by using quality ingredients, using a cooking thermometer and "knowing your oven very well".

He knows that kitchen disasters have been good for laughs on TV sitcoms since the days of I Love Lucy, and he's had a few. The worst, he says, was at a media dinner hosted by his old boss Alain Ducasse, the two-Michelin-starred chef at Spoon in Hong Kong.

"It was a very big event, but for my chocolate praline I couldn't use my favorite brand of chocolate because it was out of stock. So I used another brand and it was too soft. I took out all of my desserts, 20 minutes before I had to send them to the tables, and they started melting. Terrible! I mean, it wasn't a soup, but it wasn't perfect - and when you present for Mr. Ducasse, everything must be perfect.

"So I sent the most beautiful one first, to his table, and then sent the other desserts out for the media. It wasn't a disaster, and at the end of the dinner, they were all happy. The dessert still tasted great, and that's what they remember."

Memories are made of these

Memories are made of these

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