Cronut® Creative Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel talks about his collaboration with City Harvest

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The bakery has also done its part by lending a hand during the pandemic. Can you share a bit of this experience?

When the pandemic happened, we actually never closed the bakery. Like every other business, I had to let go [of the] majority of my staff, if not almost everyone. We were bare bones. We had nothing. We opened the shop with two or three people, and it was tough. It was a difficult time for everyone. I decided to stay open because our bakery is the hub of our neighborhood community. [The] the bakery is still [a] neighborhood business. I saw, very quickly, after a few weeks, people [came] together, go to the bakery because we were one of the only shops open. I saw people coming from all over town, from all over town, people walking 40, 50 blocks just to come [the] pastry shop. I remember that’s how we started, with just a few employees.

We feel humbled to be part of the community, to be part of something bigger than being a baking company. We bring people together. From our side, we have donated a lot to hospitals to help all the staff – nurses and doctors to support everyone for the hard work, to keep us all safe. I would say, [we are] back to square one, but with [a] wiser perspective and [a] better understand how much we can contribute [to] the community.

What can you tell us about the process of creating a Cronut®, and how do you decide on new flavor combinations?

I created the Cronut® in 2013, and back then it was just another weekend creation. It was actually prepared for Mother’s Day. That’s why the flavor was vanilla and rose. It was a simple addition to the menu. I worked on it for a while, because I like the fun interactive perspective [of] creation, but it was good. Little did I know it was going to go viral and take us all somewhere different. Looking back, [it was] a beautiful creation [that] definitely opened the doors to so many things.

When it comes to new flavors, we have never repeated the same flavor, not even once or on the wall. We’ve created over a hundred flavors in New York and 200 worldwide from all openings. The flavours [are] always based on the local culture. [The] the ingredients can be spices, tea, [or] coffee. There can be many different integrations of this one. We always want something tasty. This is good [at] first, then something that pairs well with a different flavor. We try to mix it up a bit; [for] the texture, we’ll make a jam and a cream, and we always try to make it a little more unique each time.

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