Amazonía 75% Launch a view from Pastry Elite
As pastry chefs, our time outside the kitchen is often limited, so what time we do have is cherished. If you were to imagine your day off, you would most likely feel reluctant to choose to do anything that might pull you away from catching up with friends and family, but every now and again there will be an opportunity you just shouldn't pass up. What are those opportunities you ask? Industry events/parties. Whatever the occasion is, it will create an environment to network with other chefs in the city, build new relationships, and potentially set you up for new learning experiences or job opportunities.
Almost Immediately after our trip to Denver, we found ourselves in Miami for just such an event. A relatively newer chocolate company to make it's way to the US from Equador is Republica del Cacao. They chose to host their brand launch party at the Betsy Hotel about a block away from the ocean in the heart of South Beach. The members of the Republica del Cacao team went out of their way to create something totally unique. They managed to turn an empty space into a jungle, as the theme of the evening was called Voyage to Amazonia. Not long after we arrived at the empty event space, we saw tropical plants outside the building that spanned about half a block and was about to be brought inside.
While we let everyone else fill the space, we hung out with chefs Gonzo Jimenez and Pachi Larrea as they worked on the chocolate showpiece which would be at the heart and center of the room. The showpiece used a variety of techniques ranging from carving to casting pieces and chocolate curls. We can say with confidence that if you were in the room watching you would've picked up a few new tricks. Because there was going to be more to the event space beside plants and a showpiece, the room chefs Gonzo & Pachi were working in slowly began to shrink as the five other chefs (Santiago Cueva, Jorge Kauam, Carolina Molea, Omar Mazzei, and Ignacio Ducque) began to roll in. This is one of the instances we wanted to point out to you because if you had the interest to learn this would've been your time to shine. The hallway was completely lined with folding tables and pastries, and if you had a set of hands and a little experience any one of the chefs setting up could've used your help putting on the finishing touches (see everything they made in the photos below).
Shortly after all the desserts were finished, waves of people began filling the event space. It seemed as though there were no less than 120+ pastry people who were there enjoying themselves. Now if you didn't have a personal connection that would've allowed you to help out with the showpiece or desserts for the buffets, this would've been your time to build those connections.
Throughout the evening even we had to make sure we were taking the time to put the camera and phone down and participate in conversations with those around us. It was easy to tell how excited everyone was about all the desserts & pastries they got to try. If you're a young cook, who might at times feel a little self-conscious or nervous, know that at an event like this is where most people are easily approachable. So the next time you hear about an industry event, get out there, make some new connections, and let's build a stronger pastry community.
Thank to our friend, Tom Hemerka founder of Pastry Elite
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