The seasoned French chef Mr Eric Gouteyron welcomed Passion at his boutique pastry shop L’Amandine in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta. There he told us about his colorful soon-to-be four decade career as a professional pastry chef and how he fell in love deeply with Indonesia.
How did you become a pastry chef?
You can say my passion in this industry went through two important stages in the beginning. First, there was my mother who taught me pastry since I was 12 back in my hometown Le Puy, nearby Lyon.
Then, I decided to pursue my passion and applied for apprenticeship, worked at several pastry shops, and finally met Mr Gerard Sciennat – the second person who inspired me immensely. He’s a gifted pastry chef who always created masterpiece for his clients. He motivated me to join competitions. When I got first place, he gave me an opportunity to train in Paris.
You had a fantastic spell back in New York we heard. Care to tell us about it?
I was recommended by an American friend during my training in Paris to work at The River Cafe in New York, a famous restaurant by the river overlooking the Manhattan district. It’s a very beautiful restaurant and my first time working abroad. Moreover, celebrities frequented the restaurant from time to time. I met Rod Stewart, Luther Vandross, and many more during my time there.
Next I was appointed as the Executive Pastry Chef at The Plaza Hotel, my first time working for five-star establishment. I stayed there for fourteen years and we did also many celebrity weddings there like for Eddy Murphy, Michael Douglas, and for Mr Trump as well – the proprietor at that time.
What’s after New York and why did you decide to stay in Asia afterwards?
Next I joined Fairmont Hotels group and was assigned to their property in Dubai. One time I was also part of the pre-opening team for Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi.
As for why I stay in Asia until now. It all started during my tenure back in Dubai. I was working perhaps with the best team I ever had in my entire career. It was a team comprised of people from different nationalities, and I found out that Indonesians in particular are very passionate people. That’s why I wanted to find out more about Asia. From there I went to Hong Kong and eventually, Indonesia.
How did you start it here in Indonesia?
After a brief spell with Intercontinental Hong Kong, I joined The Harvest here as their F&B Director. At the end of my contract, I met my old friend Chef Chandra Yudasswara, whom I had the pleasure to work with during my time back in Dubai. We work together now. He’s expanding Portable Kitchen & Bar, and I’m running L’Amandine as the pastry counterpart.
So, how would you suggest people to enjoy L’Amandine products and can you highlight some of the best?
Well, imagine yourself back at home and feeling hungry. Imagine how nice it would be to please yourself with a slice of our bread, added with smoked salmon, cold cuts, or put some sour cream on our homemade rye bread. Perhaps you can also make yourself a quick sandwich, with BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato) and melted cheese on top. You can do a lot of alternatives and very healthy as well.
The signature product for L’Amandine is the Black Diamond – an entremet of almond & chocolate dacquoise, with mild acidity came from passion fruit and the sweet, light bitterness of the chocolate. We have also the Black & White Truffle and Chocolate Double Fudge. We’re also known for our croissants.
Now that you have been living here for quite some time, are you planning to stay in Indonesia for good?
As a chef, it’s difficult to imagine myself dropping the suitcase and settle somewhere permanently. But for Indonesia, I really enjoy myself living here and I am seriously considering to stay for good.
There’s something that I admire from the people. Here people act naturally and they are always smiling. Even though life treats them bad, they are still genuinely happy. This is a situation unlike anywhere else I ever found out during my travels.
Lastly, tell us about your favorite Indonesian food?
Oxtail soup is nice. I also like gado-gado, rendang, and other Padang food! I don’t eat much rice but nasi goreng is a good treat once in a while.
Images by: Edwin Pangestu