PEOPLE OF EQ – Arnaud

What is your role?
“I’m the Head Pastry Chef, so basically I’m running the production and oversee all the product for all Black Star Pastry.”

What were you doing before this?
“Before that I was working with George Calombaris. I was Executive Pastry Chef for Made Establishment, so I was overseeing all the pastry production across all the brands: Hellenic Republic, Gazi, Press Club, Jimmy Grants and more recently, Yo-Chi.”

Are you originally from Sydney, Australia?
No, originally from France. Arrived in Australia four years ago, but was in Melbourne for most of that time. Has only just moved to Sydney for Black Star Pastry.

What is your favourite thing to do when not at work?
“Restaurants. I love eating, I love exploring.”

What is the happiest moment of your life?
“My wedding. I got married in August this year.”
Arnaud’s family and friends came over from France.

If it was your last day on earth, what would your last meal be?
“Oooh, that’s a hard one…I think it would be the best Wagu I could find. I would be happy with that. Plus a glass of wine.”

He’d have it medium rare with no vegies.

A bit more…
In Paris, Arnaud had been a head pastry chef for Michelin 3-Star restaurants. Does he miss it?
“Not really. Working 90 hours a week? No, I don’t miss it at all! But I do miss France…I miss the friends, I miss the life there. But I’m really happy here, anyway.”

Andrea Reiss, owner of Chez Dre in Melbourne, brought Arnaud to Australia. They had previously worked together in France and she wanted him to help her launch her new venture, Bibelot.

After spending some time in Melbourne, Arnaud moved to Sydney to join Black Star Pastry. He was already familiar with their name and brand – “and of course the strawberry watermelon cake!”

Black Star Pastry founder, Christopher The′ was now Executive Pastry Chef for the whole group and focusing on research and development.

“I’m here to help him with managing the whole operation,” says Arnaud. Without giving too much away, Arnaud hints at some future plans:

“We have a couple of things on the line…Let’s say, we’re working on the marketing so the branding is going to change in the next few months.”

What does he like about his job?

“So, what I like in pastry – and even food in general – is to see people happy when they eat. That’s something we can experience a bit more in a pastry shop, because you can walk past.”

It’s a joy, but also a challenge.

“When I create a dessert, I’m always trying to keep in mind that I want to make everyone happy. Of course, you’re not gonna make everyone happy, but as much as I can.”

Arnaud’s love for pastry cooking began when he was a boy.

“I was a kid, I was twelve years old, and I was baking at home. Just some tarts…just started on the weekend, do a couple of tarts for my mum, for friends. And then a little bit later, was some danish, croissants, just experiencing some stuff at home. And then one day, I said to my mum ‘I know what I want to do! I wanna be a pastry chef! I wanna stop going to school.’”

His mother’s response?

“No. You’re gonna go to school until your next diploma” (which was another two years) “and then after that, if you pass, you do whatever you want.”

Arnaud completed school, passed, waved the diploma in front of his mother and said “Now I can do what I want!”

He spent six years studying in Paris, gaining thorough knowledge and skills in the fundamentals before adding his own creativity.

“I learned a lot of things there. So basically, when you have all the base, and you understand the food, the product, and the reaction between that, you can create whatever you want. So from there you’re creating your own recipes.”

What are his future goals?

“For now I’m definitely more than happy with what I’m doing. It’s a big opportunity. And the business is gonna grow and I’m gonna be part of it. I love challenges and I’ve got a really amazing team behind.”