We talk to the acclaimed celebrity pâtissier ahead of Taste of Dubai
Name: Eric Lanlard Age: 45 Nationality: French Professional position: French pâtissier and celebrity chef
1. What will you be doing at Taste of Dubai 2014? I’m going to be demonstrating some recipes from my latest book, Chocolate, as well as a few tried and trusted favourites from previous books Home Bake and Tart it Up. For me, part of the fun is meeting my fellow colleagues and chef friends, as well as interacting with the audience and fans. There is always such a great atmosphere at festivals, so it is very enjoyable to be able to participate.
2. What do you think of the festival, and why did you decide to get involved this year? I’ve worked with Taste of London for a couple of years now and have really enjoyed and appreciated the audience. Having been lucky enough to visit Dubai for a good number of years, it is very exciting to be bringing the Cake Boy show to Dubai.
3. What do you think of the food scene in Dubai? How has it progressed in the past 12 months? It’s ever changing – the restaurant and bar scene is vibrant and the food choice is immense. The food and restaurant scene is ambitious and glamorous, it’s dynamic and it’s not standing still. Upon every visit there is somewhere new to go out and try. I would imagine that most top chefs and restaurant brands if they are not already in Dubai, want to be in Dubai. It really is an exciting food destination.
4. What food trends should be look out for throughout the rest of 2014? I’m not sure about food trends in as far as predicting what the next big thing is going to be. We are definitely moving to a much better understanding of food and consumers are much more confident and they can make informed choices based on where the food is sourced from. The explosion of home baking has been very good for my industry and its given people a deeper understanding of patisserie and permission to go out and enjoy it. Home baking is fantastic but there is nothing like experiencing fine desserts and pastries in a beautiful boutique setting.
5. What is your favourite cuisine to eat – NOT cook – and why? My favourite restaurant dishes are a prawn cocktail and steak tartar – I wouldn’t cook either at home but if they are on any menu in any restaurant in any country I will try those two dishes. You can’t beat a good steak either. I don’t’ like over fussy food – for me it’s all about the quality of the ingredients
6. Describe your personal cooking style? I like rustic style cooking with a little bit of glamour thrown in. I love entertaining and will go to town on the table setting, the ambience and the music. I will always be well prepared because it’s a shame to have people over for dinner and not to be able to join in!
7. What inspired you to become a chef? I have wanted to be a patisserie since the age of six. It was a vocation just something that I wanted to do. I was inspired by the beautiful patisseries in my home town – they were like jewellery boutiques.
8. What is the weirdest thing you have eaten or cooked? Fish marinated for days in seawater in Tahiti – the location was glamorous!
9. What is the best and worst thing about being a chef? I love my job and always have so I can’t think of any worst bits – although the early starts can sometimes be punishing particularly when there is so much else going on – books to write, programmes to film, and courses to teach. Other than that it’s fantastic – just doing something that you have a passion and talent for is pretty special. There is never a day that I’m not happy to walk into my kitchen – I feel so very grateful.
10. When you have had a tough day, what is your ultimate comfort food dish? If I’m at home and by myself I will open a tin of Heinz baked beans. If I don’t want to be at home then I will go and have fish and chips at the local restaurant that I have been going to forever. They are a fish restaurant and they do the best fish and chips in London as far as I’m concerned!