Chef Chat, Part 1: Roy Shvartzapel's Culinary Journey to Common Bond
|Chuck Cook Photography|
|Along with the baked goods, Common Bond features a full coffee bar and uses high-quality beans both from local sources and outside the state.|
RS: When I got to New York after culinary school, I was determined to work at the very best places. I had a tireless work ethic. 20-hour days were commonplace for me: two jobs so I could work at a place for dishwasher money and learn from the best and then be a server somewhere else so I could pay rent to live on a sofa.
My first job in New York was at Bouley Bakery. I met a gentleman, who is now a great friend and my mentor, who was Pierre Hermé's lead chef when he opened in Paris. We met by chance on the street and I knew I had to work for him.
For the first two months they wouldn't pay me and I didn't care. Finally, they paid me $400 a week.
I met Pierre Hermé at a special dinner for Alain Ducasse. [Hermé] extended an invitation to come work in Paris. With no money in hand and credit cards in pockets, I boarded a plane. My parents helped as much as they could. I worked for Pierre Hermé for seven months. He made a call to Ferran Adrià in 2006 and I spent that season at elBulli. When I finished, I spent time in Italy with Iginio Massari. He is the Pierre Hermé of Italian pastries; the godfather amongst godfathers of pastry chefs in Italy.
I specifically went to learn about what I think is the most difficult yeasted pastry there is to make: traditional panettone. Once again, it was an opportunity to learn something the right way from the right person.
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