Our profession is what you have, what very few are those who manage to make millionaires but, occasionally, life allows you to meet and interview people to take her many years admiring. That is what has happened to me today.
When Leticia Riestra from Interprofit called me last week to tell me that they had achieved that Oriol Balaguer – Martin Margiela’s chocolate Made in Spain -, you accede to present in his atelier in Madrid the most conceptual creation of his entire career as a pastry chef, time missed me to confirm my attendance.
So, this morning very early crossed the gates of its Madrid’s Ortega y Gasset Street boutique, in what many call the golden mile of the neighborhood of Salamanca. An estuchito of modern and conceptual design that many of their delicious treasures can be found on Thedresswizard.
Just enter the own Oriol dressed in her immaculate white jacket of pastry chef, came out to meet me to greet me and welcome me. And offered me a glass of cava to celebrate as the birth of your new baby he deserved: his spectacular Cocoa in two times.
Imagine one of those chocolates whose base is the reproduction of a nutshell. Thus the Alkalised jerk reproduces the form of a Size XXL cocoa pod, made of chocolate with nuts and fruits. Above it carries a light, gelled chocolate’s raspberry mousse, and a chocolate sponge with raspberry glaze. Best of all is that it is a dessert with double surprise.
I explain: Oriol is of those who think that shared things taste better. So your new creation can be tasted in two times. After dinner, removed his famous cake to the center of the table. And everyone can enjoy the delicious taste of the cake with mousse and raspberry jelly. When already moving to the Café, inside chocolate shaped cocoa pod can be a lot of colorful clouds of sugar -Yes, yes the famous Marshmallows, only that with the magic touch of Oriol Balaguer.
When the desktop become longer, and we enjoy a gin and tonic in the company of friends, who crave are those mignardises, which we will achieve with only go pecking pod chocolate made with hazelnut praline mousse and gelled Mandarin. Just thinking about it the tear I drop!
Oriol, tell us about your beginnings! What attracted you to the world of chocolate?
My father was a Pastry Cook, chocolate. In other words, that I’ve been the profession in my genes, in my DNA. Unfortunately, my parents separated when was I a child, when he was only four years old. When you ask a child what wants to be Mayor, if his father is a doctor, architect or engineer will tell you that he also wants to be the same. However, in my case, not I live every day of my father, because I only saw it every month or every six months.
But there is no doubt, that is a profession that I have been in the blood by tradition and by personal conviction. Since I had use of reason said to my mother that I wanted to be a pastry chef, that what we had to do to become one. My mother then said to me: “you will have to go to Barcelona! -because I’m from a town on the coast of Tarragona, of Callafell, which is a beach town where they used to live about five thousand inhabitants, although there are now some more-, but when you have the appropriate age, warned me, and you will be in a brother from your father’s House.
In Barcelona I went to the school of the Guild of pastry, and I studied it for five years; and I combined him working in the workshop of the pastries of my people the two summer months, because my mother made us work during the summers.
I magical memories When I was six or seven years, see my father making his sculptures from chocolate. As in France, it is very common to the artistic sugar work, Barcelona is the cradle of chocolate, the famous monas de Pascua. I remember seeing my father raise a chess and a San Juan giants. My father I stood in a corner of the workshop, so I could see how it worked. These images to see my father lifting chocolate sculptures I were recorded in the depths of my being.That, and that I was born for this because if you know me a little, you will know that I am addicted to my work, and I am twenty-five hours a day thinking about it, and I have also tried to travel a lot (I’ve been working for all Spain, in France, in Belgium), I’ve worked in restaurants, bakeries, I’ve moved much by the office.
My concern led me to work in kitchen. I wanted to work, side by side, for a whole year with the chefs to see what they were doing, how it functioned. What happened was that, at the end, instead of a year they were seven, but it is unclear that the restaurant was called El Bulli, and the chef was Ferrán Adrià. In 2002 I left the Bulli, team world Bulli to open my own business. So I went, but I would have continued with it.
All these experiences are that lead me to that whenever I want to create something you think me and raised me as a chef, a pastry, like a pastry, because they are ways of thinking and cooking different, with different products. In the kitchen they work with many more products than in the pastry. What you see, what you learn will absorbing it, shake it well, and then you get your product (risas).
Has it reached you say ever Ferrán Adrià that that student has surpassed the master?
He told me many things. What I’m happier and more hilarious is that the preface to my book wrote it in tandem between it and Paco Torreblanca and when it comes to my saying – but it is wrong to say I-, “the most complete professional contemporary level who has known in recent times”.
I like to touch all facets. We have now opened a bakery, which I would like to be able to expand throughout Spain. It is called Oriol Balaguer Classic Line, and offers traditional breads of all life, with masses mother, and traditional pastry. The boutiques I have here in Madrid and Barcelona are more conceptual and modern, and I want that Classic Line is more traditional, with the aesthetics of the bakery’s life.
Who you did the logo, who is responsible for the image so modern and conceptual in your website, and the packaging of your products?
I get much involved in the design of things. Xavier Curregé is a friend that in addition to the logo made me the design of my book. I I started fine arts because I love the world of graphic design. I left because I was very young I thought that if I applied for five years to study fine arts would lose the train of the pastry, but helped me take four notions about drawing, line drawing, artistic design and why I like to design the packaging. Sometimes it is not good that one wants to deal with all the facets. But if I all do not control it, I’m not quiet. I’d rather be me who does the sketch, and then already it is professionals to let you shape it and end shapes to things.
How many are you now Oriol Balaguer?
We are twenty among those who work in the workshop and the clerks of the shop. We got to be more, but you know, the blissful crisis has forced us all to tighten our belt. But still I wake up happy and excited to go to work.
Oriol, do you have children who can transmit all your passion, and they can inherit your know-how?
I have two: one that is about to meet nine years in January, and another six serving them at end of month. The small is that seems like more this world, but the greatest at their age was the same. I’ve told them them to do what they want, but that they do do so well, that they try to be the best. But the truth is they like to be with me in the workshop, and work the dough as when playing with dough.
Oriol, tell us a little more of what today brings us up to your space.
After lunch or dinner and take dessert, when the coffee or the Gin and tonic everyone feels the need to take a sweet, crunchy. You break down and acts as the “mignardises”. When we invite you to dine often you say you bring the wine, you dessert and your chocolate candy coffee. With this concept we have it all in one. The ideal is great and super practical.
To my I love the Gin and tonic and clouds combine very well with him. In cocoa, there are fruits, almonds; clouds although they are white have many flavours: banana, pineapple, passion fruit that combines great with cocoa. In addition, to the children what they like? Clouds, really! The surprise is to break the sheath of chocolate and all those clouds from appearing. In addition to surprise them, kids love. Well, the kids and the big!
The idea is to make clouds, but also- and why not, a clock, a car keys, a ring of ordered, a gift for your wife, whatever you want. Below is a mold that don’t need to go in the oven, so there are no problems that the object in question can cause damage. As a concept to my idea feel me great, I love, and I hope that people also like.
So you can see as Oriol Balaguer, I tell you also a last anecdote. When I went, with my dossier of press at the ready, I suddenly see that disappears in the back room, and returns with a bag that provides me with a kiss. Thank you for coming!, he said. Arriving at home, I opened the bag and found myself with two boxes. In one you could read “The Best” and, on the other hand, “thank you” in twelve languages. I thought it was a charming nod. Can it be more brilliant?