Multi-starred chef Alain Ducasse’s Ducasse Education, a prestigious network of schools specialising in cooking and pastry arts, is renowned the world over. With three campuses in France, the institution aims to extend its expertise accumulated over decades to gastronomy enthusiasts. And now, for the first time, Ducasse Education has come to India to impart the art, techniques and trends of classic French culinary and patisserie making to not just hospitality brands, but amateur chefs as well. Brought to the country by Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, the series of masterclasses can be attended by anybody who wishes to enrol.
Three workshops were held recently in the country at the Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad; Vivanta by Taj, Dwarka, New Delhi; and Callebaut Academy, Mumbai. The objective is to help chefs—both professional and amateur—master the techniques of French cooking. Conducted by Ducasse Education chefs Franck Geuffroy and Jeremy Delteil, the workshops focused on basic pastry techniques and how to make French teatime delicacies such as lemon tartlets, chocolate eclairs, macarons, madeleine, panna cotta, strawberry waffles, etc.
Interestingly, the chefs remodelled some of their recipes to incorporate local produce from India as well. When Geuffroy replaced strawberries in some of his recipes with the home-grown Alphonso mangoes, he made it a point to emphasise how ingredients play a vital role in the way a dish turns out, depending on the climate of a place. “You can’t make good products solely by learning the techniques. You have to learn what you can cook with and how.
If it’s the season for mangoes, then use a mango,” he told his eager students. When asked to delineate the hype around French cooking, Geuffroy said, “Cooking can be international, but the art of patisserie is French.”