Learnings from Pastry Connection: “Latin American and European Pastry” with Damián Betular and Javier Guillén
Even though the art of patisserie has received contributions from all over the world and all types of authors due to globalization, there are certain factors such as customs, culture, history, geography, flora, and fauna; that are crucial in this specialty and at the time of creating a piece, dessert, or product. Anyhow, thanks to the implementation of thousands of patisserie schools all over the world, it could be said that the majority of technicalities and manners of working are very similar or share the same principles.
Javier Guillén recalls, “17 years ago, I visited Latin America for the first time. There is more people, more demand for classes, courses, ingredients, and books every time.” He also talks about the integration that is being achieved thanks to the implementation of SOSA products, which, combined with high-quality raw material or native ingredients, help create great products.
Due to the acceptation and exploitation of the art of patisserie in Latin America, we could start talking about a revaluation of raw materials. Thanks to the large demand of products being imported from Europe, local businesses have been qualified, and nowadays we can get a number of very similar products, and in other cases, better products than those imported years ago. However, the costs for producers in Argentina is very high, and usually it is necessary to go with them, follow them, and make their job easier, to be able to obtain a better product. Other factors that make commercialization more expensive are logistics and transportation. Distances are very broad and the lack of infrastructure in transport makes the logistics a factor that makes the product or raw material too expensive.
Damián Betular shares, “The ability to reevaluate a simple dessert with a high-quality and breathtaking product is amazing.” Betular gives us the example of the bread pudding, which is a dessert that is commonly related to the still lives in Argentina, but in its nature one of the best latin American raw materials is found: dairy products. He employs this example to emphasize the importance of revaluating our national products.
“There is no use in offering French patisserie to a foreigner who is visiting my country,” states Damián Betular. This phrase is very interesting, as every country in Latin America have adapted techniques and ingredients to create products that are similar to traditional products, but with a mark from every country.
Javier Guillén explains that between 70% and 80% of the students attending Parisian patisserie schools are Latin American. In my opinion, this has to do with the fact that Europe holds the niche of global patisserie, and as Guillén mentioned, the majority of students qualify themselves to later return to their countries and overturn their knowledge (no es tan facil ni accesible para todo el mundo). Therefore, the fact that 70% or 80% of students are Latin American has really caught my attention.
The last point that I would like to emphasize is a comparison based on a question that Antonio Losada asks Javier Guillén. The patisserie found in hotels in Spain or other countries in Europe is not the same to that found in hotels in Latin America.
According to my experience in Hospitality, I have to emphasize that I really like an initiative being established in Latin America and other parts of the world, which consists in putting the pastry chef and the cuisine chef at the same level, offering the pastry chef the possibility to display the art of patisserie in different ways. This is something that I consider very pleasing. At the same time, the number of hotels with pastry shops for takeaway is increasing, and I find this (stunning), as this gives a public that may not be able to spend in a 5 star hotel, the opportunity to take home an experience that goes beyond their senses.
To close with this review, I would like to quote a guest in the conference, who stated, “The only inheritance that we leave is what we teach and contribute to society.”
I will translate it to my own words: “Leave a mark in people’s hearts, palates, and minds.”
A. Matías Joaquín, Técnico en Gastronomía, Pastry Chef and República del Cacao ally
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