The Cedric Grolet phenomenon

Famous for his desserts in the shape of flowers and trompe-l’œil fruits, Cedric Grolet is a force to be reckoned with in the world of pâtisserie. This hardworking virtuoso assumed the post of chef pâtissier (head pastry chef) at the celebrated Hôtel Meurice in Paris in 2012. Soon dubbed “the best pastry chef in the world”, he opened his first shop at the hotel in 2018, followed by a second a few streets away in the Avenue de l’Opéra.

Where did you get your passion for pâtisserie?

Creating pâtisserie runs in the family. I first started baking with my mother’s father who was a chef in a hotel-restaurant. But this desire to transform my pastries into works of art came from my other grandfather, who was a painter, artist, sculptor and singer.

What is your recipe for success?

I think that the priority for every human being on Earth is simply to love what you accomplish. That’s what drives me to always do better than the day before.

How do you innovate as a chef pâtissier?

To me, innovation lies in continually creating new recipes, novel concepts and creations. Furthermore, my aim is to position myself as a chef de cuisine – a head chef – in the world of pâtisserie. I have sought to create little universes surrounding my creations, offering my customers a unique, special experience comparable to what they would get in a gourmet restaurant.

Where did your unique approach to your creations originate?

Whether they were round, triangular, with icing or with a different finish, I found that all cakes looked alike and that their positioning seemed to follow a general rule. So I was motivated by the desire to innovate and to make my creativity stand out. That was what sparked off the idea of the pastry flowers and trompe-l'œil fruits.

With an impressive community totalling 15 million subscribers on Instagram and TikTok, Cedric Grolet has enthralled a global audience. He has extended his influence as far as London and, more recently, Singapore. Driven as much by his passion as his ambition, he does not show any intention of slowing down his march towards new horizons.

The vanilla desserts that you are introducing have been a resounding success. How did you manage to reinvent this flavour?

Vanilla is a classic ingredient that has sadly suffered from the use of artificial flavours and colours. I also think it’s a shame that we only eat the seeds when vanilla offers us a whole range of qualities to explore: we can use the empty pods, we can explore varying levels of ripeness, try out pods of different origins and sizes, vary how we infuse them and test out different strengths. I love playing around with all these things, as a chocolatier would with chocolate, to get either a sweet, light flavour or something more characterful and full-bodied, as though you’d added coffee.

What’s your philosophy when it comes to the ingredients for your recipes?

There’s nothing particularly special about making a new square-shaped chocolate éclair in itself. What makes it special is responsibly selecting the right ingredients – using good chocolate, flour, eggs and butter. Then, to surprise my audience or make them think, I like to have fun by adding a little extra salt, or leaving out the biscuit, for example...

How do you manage the production and sale of your creations?

Having seen the pâtisseries in Paris full of cakes until late in the evening, I wanted to adopt a radically different approach. Thinking up my own creations right where I sell them, centralising all the stages of production in a single place, and working out quantities to suit the production capacity of each shop lets me minimise wastage and offer products that are always fresh and of the highest quality. I feel that it is imperative to make a real impact on the way in which cakes and pastries are produced and consumed, while reducing the quantity of waste that is generated.

‘I love things that are pure, elegant, complete.’ Cedric Grolet

What do you like about having V-ZUG appliances in your own home?

Apart from their precision and their excellent performance, I think this brand perfectly reflects my lifestyle. To me they symbolise elegance in everyday life. I feel real pride in having V-ZUG appliances at home. Every time I ask my friends over they are impressed, without fail – my kitchen has become a real jewel.

How would you describe your relationship with V-ZUG?

V-ZUG and I have been working together for some time now. We cultivate a relationship that is deeply human and respectful – which is just as crucial for me as the excellence of their products. This connection goes beyond a simple collaboration; it’s a long-term rapport. In my eyes they perfectly embody the values of the Cedric Grolet brand.