Interview with pastry chef Nicolas Lambert: "Hard work always pays off. I am a strong believer in this."
At two-Michelin-starred restaurant Caprice in Hong Kong, dessert is no mere sweet ending. It's an occasion in itself. With pastry chef Nicolas Lambert at the helm, dessert is coloured with fruits ripening in the season, artfully plated, and primed to tease your palate. Growing up in a family of boulangers and patissiers, Lambert's intuition for pastry creation comes naturally. Thankfully, those hankering for a taste of Lambert's creations don't have to go far. From 14 to 16 October 2016, the Tea Lounge at Regent Singapore will play host to the French pastry chef. Expect to taste such sweat treats as his signature lemon pie and golden pear profiteroles at the hotel's weekday afternoon tea and weekend high tea buffet.
What can guests expect to enjoy at afternoon tea during your upcoming stint with Regent Singapore?
I like things that are simply made, but very well done. Guests can expect this when they visit the Tea Lounge at Regent Singapore. My pastries are not too sweet and mostly quite light, so you can enjoy more of them.
Where are your favourite spots for dessert in Hong Kong?
I like Éclair de Genie but it's difficult for me to say this without sounding biased as my wife works there. Honestly, they are very good. I'm also a fan of the warm skillet cookie topped with cold cream at Beef and Liberty.
Where do you go for supper in Hong Kong when the hunger pangs hit?
I love Asia and I like to eat like a local. I have many favourite local restaurants. We often go to Din Tai Fung for Shanghainese dumplings and BEP for Vietnamese food.
Tell us about the first dessert you've ever made for a girl.
I need to be very careful with my answer. I only remember the first dessert I made for my wife — we just got married in July. It was two years ago and I made a big lemon pie which I always talk about. It's now her favourite dessert. I am very happy to be able to share a petite version of this dessert with guests visiting Tea Lounge during the promotion.
What's the most challenging creation you've tackled to date?
My signature dessert—Raspberry—at our restaurant, Caprice. I started work on it while I was still in France. I spent a lot of time creating the prototype for the mould and I give it a lot of love. After arriving in Hong Kong, I had challenges finding a company that could create my first raspberry mould. I ended up making my own moulds.
Tell us about your biggest kitchen disaster thus far.
Thank you for reminding me about the worst day of my life! I was 15 years old and it was my very first day of work. I was so stressed I fell down the stairs and sent 25 small cakes flying off the tray. They were everywhere!
Any guilty pleasures?
Nuts. I just can't stop eating them.
What's the hardest thing about being a pastry chef?
To be constantly inspired by everything around me and to keep creating original dessert recipes that have never been seen before. You are presented with different challenges in whichever city you happen to be working at. In Hong Kong, we have many repeat guests at Caprice it is important that we always have something new for them to experience.
What are your thoughts on novelty treats such as cruffins?
It's very creative and I see this as the evolution of pastry. It's a new classic created with two classic pastries.
What's the best advice any chef has given you?
Always take pleasure in what you do and always do it with passion. Hard work always pays off. I am a strong believer in this.