Pastry Chefs Dominique & Cindy Duby
Dominique and Cindy Duby are world-acclaimed pâtissiers and chocolatiers who trained under master chefs such as Lenôtre in Paris and Wittamer in Brussels. They have won many gold and silver medals in international culinary competitions, and led Pastry Team Canada several times in the world’s most prestigious team pastry events: World Cup & World Championship. Known for their artistic flair and creative ideas, they have provided food styling and communication services to major international companies and have contributed trade articles to food magazines worldwide. As consultants, they have provided services to clients such as Singapore Airlines and Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. And were invited as guest master chefs in prestigious international culinary events. This month we are thrilled to host Dominique and Cindy as our featured chefs...
Why did you (both) choose to focus solely on pastry?
Actually, I (Dominique) started first in cooking in Belgium (where I was born and trained) and then went into pastry when I met Cindy at a common employer in Canada. Cindy always had an interest in the field of pastry and just went into it right away. I (Dominique) always had an interest in science (started to study chemistry) but then choose to go into cooking. But the urge to go back to mixing, testing, etc. with formulas lured me into pastry where there is a lot more opportunities for that aspect and then switched fully to the sweet side. And now, we almost are more of scientists doing pastry experiments that pastry chefs making sweets.
Could you recomend a Canadian pastry school to aspiring pastry chefs?
DC DUBY SCHOOL, of course!! We do not offer training courses anymore, but may start again in the near future. But we do offer professional development courses in Canada and the US. Next year we will teach a course at the French Pastry School in Chicago and are in discussion with a few other institutions including Hawaii.
What has been the highlight of your careers so far?
We believe in the maxim that we should never be satisfied with what we did yesterday otherwise tomorrow will never be better. So, the latest major achievement would have to be our book. But now that it is done, we are looking toward the future and more books, if at all possible. We are already playing with lots of new ideas for another book, but no firm plans yet.
How would you describe your cookbook to our readers and who is its intended audience?
Our primary goal was to have it for the home chef. But the professional chefs really like the book as well. And we, personally, have sold mostly to pro chefs. However, when we do demos and cooking sessions at F & W events that are mostly attended by non-professional, a lot of people become very interested in the book once they understand that they do not need to re-create the recipe exactly as in the book. But rather, they can take just a portion of most recipes and serve a quick and easy, but very tantalizing dessert in just about no time at all. Of course, if they have the time and inclination, they can go ahead and make the recipes as a whole, but still present as they like it. Thus bringing a personal touch. Most people don't realize that when they make / serve a dish, even though they followed a recipe from a book, their guests do not know where they got the recipe and/or how the dish picture look liked in the book. Take Wild Sweets as a source of inspiration, not as a rigid textbook where every lines or dots have to be followed and reproduced exactly.
When you set out to have it published were you aiming to produce such an outstanding well thought out book or did it just evolve?
We intended to have the book pretty much the way it is right from the start. If anything, we had to downsize. We had no time to have the project "evolve" as we only got 4 months to complete the whole project, sidebars, recipes, pictures, the whole thing. To date, this experience has been the most stressful in all of our professional lives. But, now that it is done, it is great!!!
Besides publishing a great cookbook can you tell us about the other business ventures that you are involved in?
We do consulting for various international companies as well as offer courses via our mobile school. But recently, we just launched our new line of exotic chocolates and luxurious CocoArt called DC DUBY Wild Sweets. This is an area of our business that we are very excited about that offers us many opportunities to be very novel and artistic. Creating a whole new collection at Wild Sweets takes months of research and development, much of it in cooperation with food & wine scientists. It is like preparing for a competition - lots of testing and always pushing the boundaries to come up with something that is very new and that no one else has done before.
With all of the business projects you have on the boil, will this leave you enough time to continue to enter the top class pastry competitions?
We never say never. But for now, competitions are a thing of the past for us. There is not one day that we do not draw something from what we did during our competition days, but it is just too demanding and now we want to concentrate on a new chapter of our career. Writing more books, continue to do a lot more research with food & wine scientists to narrow the gap between the art of cooking / pastry and the science of food. Try to make our chocolate line one of the best and most novel. Etc.
How can Canadian chefs get involved in the pastry competitions?
Put aside reason and sanity and then on may be half-ready for the horrific experience. Just kidding!!!! There are quite a few groups or associations that are involved in cold shows type competitions. And those interested should contact the local branch of their chefs association. These types of shows are a good starting point to move up to the next level of live competitions like the Pastry Cup in France or Championship in the US. Unfortunately, there is nothing really in place for those types of event here in Canada, at this time.
Who inspires you?
Chefs who see food in the same way / perspective as we do. Our approach to desserts is quite different than most pastry chefs, we think. We think more like culinary chefs since, we believe, there should not be a rupture between the savory courses and sweets. But rather a continuous and harmonious flow. We think also that sweet inspired dishes should also be served earlier in the meal, to keep the brain "attentive". We pay a lot of attention to the psychology of eating and thus serving food. So who inspires us are mostly savory chefs and not so much pastry chefs. But most of all are those that not so much inspire us but lead to to great inspiration, which are the scientists that we work with.
If you were both stranded on a dessert island what food would you want with you and what piece of equipment?
One or two pieces of as many fruits and vegetables (for their seeds) and some gardening tools. This way we can nourish body and keep the mind somewhat busy and not go crazy!!!
What book is on your bedside table?
Actually our mattress rest on the books, we have so many!!! Kidding aside, typically the books that are near are the books relating to the subject(s) that we are working on at that time. And since, our job and the research that we do is always changing, we do not have one any particular book sitting on the beside for a long time.
If you could hire a dream team of pastry chef (dead or alive) to work with you who would it be and why?
That would depend on what the team would have to do - participate in a pastry competition or make sweets for the most extravagant meal ever. Since we are not competing anymore, we will make a team based on the later. We would ask Spaniard Albert Adria (elBulli) for his philosophy, style of pastry and exoticism. And Pierre Hermé for his novel take on French pastry traditions.
Finally... who's the boss?
Do you need to ask!!!! It's me. No it's me!