When Chef Laurent Ganguillet was handed a box of pastries at the age of eight, he decided that he would be a pastry chef.
Graduated as a patissier - confiseur - glacier ( at confiserie Walder) and further as a baker (at boulangerie Knecht) in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, then joined the hotel business at Hotel Bernerhof and the world famous Gstaad Palace Hotel. After many years working in Europe and Middle East, Chef Laurent joined Shangri-la Bangkok as his first job in Asia and after that he joined The Sukhothai Bangkok as part of the pre-opening team and has been with the hotel for the pass 28 years.
What's the difference between Swiss Chocolate, French, and Belgian?
Switzerland got famous for their milk chocolates and the French for the dark ones. Belgium specializes in chocolate bonbons or "pralines".
Which one is the best?
It all comes down to personal taste, you can find excellent products everywhere nowadays.
Which one do you prefer?
I'm a dark chocolate lover, and as long as it's a good and interesting product, I don't segregate on the origin.
What's a myth about chocolate?
It has an amazing history, social influence, and has impacted the world since ancient times. I consider and treat chocolate as a noble product. Chocolate, or rather cacao I should say, by its sheer nature, is mythic in itself!
A healthy eating trend is booming, so should desserts stay sweet and rich or should they be less sweet, with more healthy ingredients?
Desserts must and are following the trend, getting lighter and lower in sugar. The key is using quality ingredients, grown in a natural way respecting seasonal cycles, organic as much as possible, and working with the produce the way it should be while getting away from additives. Sourcing "ancient" varieties of cereal with a weaker gluten content, and tasty but less productive fruits and vegetables remains challenging.
What's a challenge about pastry in hotels today?
Talented, dedicated staff is probably the challenge of the decade.
What's your advice for those who want to be successful as a pastry chef?
Be passionate and dedicated! Do not underestimate the importance of learning the basics first. Be open minded and creative. Use quality ingredients. Work hard and smart. Maintain a healthy work - life balance (this can be challenging!)... and most important, always respect customers and work peers.