Flash-grilled: Jessica Préalpato

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled: Jessica Prealpato  former World’s Best Pastry Chef

Related tags: Chef, Pastry chef, Hotel, London

The former World’s Best Pastry Chef, who recently collaborated with The Carlton Tower Jumeirah in London's Knightsbridge to create a 'unique afternoon tea experience', tells us about her career.

What was your first job in the industry?
The first company that really stood out for me was La Chèvre d'Or, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Eze in the southeast of France. It was my first experience in the kitchen, in a brigade. Everything was meticulous, perfectly executed. The products were extremely fresh with such a strong taste. It was incredible.

If you weren't in the kitchen, what would you be doing?
I would be a child psychologist. I'm very close to children and highly empathetic. I'm passionate about the brain, human behaviour and what comes from it. I find this profession fascinating and so important in making children feel happy and fulfilled.

Which industry figure do you admire most, and why?
I don't have an iconic figure. I have a deep respect for kitchen chefs in general. It's a demanding creative profession. But Frédéric Vardon and Alain Ducasse are the two chefs who have made the greatest impression on me and made a huge impression on me due to their humanity. They have always been a major influence in my everyday life and in each of my decisions.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
People who don’t sharpen their knives.

What is the strangest thing a customer has said to you?
I don’t recall a specific strange comment. But I often laugh when some customers want to impress their guests and describe ingredients in the dessert that don't exist. I don't take offence, but I'm convinced that you can learn from everything and everyone - sometimes you must remain modest to discover more.

Sum up your cooking style in one sentence...
Natural, original and sunny.

What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
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 Sapid restaurant in Paris.

A la carte or tasting menu?
Tasting menu, without a doubt. I love discovering new flavours, tastes and combinations. And what I like most of all is to leave the restaurant loving a product that I didn't particularly like before... Just because a chef managed to cook and prepare it perfectly.

What is the best meal you have ever had in a restaurant?
It was an incredible dinner - but what has remained with me since was the starter based on button mushrooms made by chef Diego Delbecq in his restaurant in Lille called ROZO. The dish was incredible in its balance, its taste... unforgettable.

The most overrated food?
Truffle. I think it's good, but I find the price-performance ratio being quite out of proportion.

What is your earliest culinary memory?
A cake created by my father called 'Sainte Cécile' - a dessert made with puff pastry, red fruit confit and burnt chiboust... a real treat.

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

Your favourite drink?
French wine and chai tea.

Related topics: People, Profiles, Chef

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