Jessica Prealpato former best pastry chef in the world

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What was your first job in the industry?
The first company that really stood out to me was La Chèvre d’Or, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Eze in southeastern France. It was my first experience in the kitchen, in a brigade. Everything was meticulous, perfectly executed. The produce was extremely fresh with such a strong taste. It was amazing.

If you weren’t in the kitchen, what would you be doing?
I would be a child psychologist. I am very close to children and very empathetic. I am passionate about the brain, human behavior and what comes of it. I find this profession fascinating and so important for children to feel happy and fulfilled.

Which industry personality do you most admire and why?
I don’t have an iconic character. I have a deep respect for cooks in general. It is a demanding creative profession. But Frédéric Vardon and Alain Ducasse are the two chefs who impressed me the most and who impressed me with their humanity. They have always been a major influence in my everyday life and in every decision I make.

Hatred of animals in the kitchen?
People who don’t sharpen their knives.

What’s the weirdest thing a customer has said to you?
I don’t remember a specific weird comment. But I often laugh when some customers want to wow their guests and describe dessert ingredients that don’t exist. I’m not offended, but I am convinced that we can learn from everything and everyone – sometimes you have to remain modest to discover more.

Summarize your cooking style in one sentence…
Natural, original and sunny.

What advice would you give to someone new to the business?
Be creative and find your own culinary signature.

What kitchen equipment do you have that you couldn’t live without?
My Japanese knife.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
The strawberry bread cake dessert from the Sapid restaurant in Paris.

A la carte menu or tasting?
Tasting menu, no doubt. I love discovering new flavors, new tastes and new combinations. And what I like above all is to leave the restaurant in love with a product that I didn’t particularly like before… Quite simply because a chef managed to cook and prepare it perfectly.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
It was an amazing dinner – but what has stuck with me since is the button mushroom starter made by chef Diego Delbecq at his Lille restaurant ROZO. The dish was amazing in its balance, unforgettable taste.

The most overrated food?
Truffle. I think it’s good, but I find the value for money to be quite disproportionate.

What is your first culinary memory?
A cake created by my father called ‘Sainte Cécile’ – a dessert made from puff pastry, candied red fruits and burnt chiboust…a real treat.

Where do you go when you want to let off steam?
At my yoga classes. I can finally focus on myself, my breathing and my body. I really feel better when I practice it regularly.

Your favorite drink?
French wine and chai tea.

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