Joanna Asmar, Chef & CEO
Passionate about food, Joanna Asmar graduated with a BA in Interior Design but found her true path through studying the Grand Diplôme. She went on to open her own food delivery kitchen, mainly focused on pastry.
When did you realize you wanted to become a chef?
I’ve always had a passion for cooking for as long as I remember, unfortunately, culinary studies weren’t an option when I was about to enter university. So, when Le Cordon Bleu opened in Beirut, I enrolled without hesitation.
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
The excitement that comes with the creative process. When you have certain ideas in mind and see them coming to life and sometimes they surprise you by being even more delicious than you envisioned, thatis so thrillling.
What are your main responsibilities? Talk us through your average working day…
My day starts very early. I prepare my orders and after sending them for delivery, I go on to prepare for the next day. Moreover, I keep an eye on the supplies, social media and work on new items.
Is there anything that surprised you when starting the role?
The amount of organization and the varied skills needed to run a pastry kitchen. Maths being one of them!
How do you work with your team? Any management tips?
We work as one family, having the Black Kitchens’ best interest at heart. It’s important to give each person the tasks they’re most skilled at to optimize efficiency.
Why did you choose Le Cordon Bleu Beirut?
I chose the Beirut campus because I live here and I was waiting for this opportunity all my life. Le Cordon Bleu is quite simply the key I needed to pursue the career I was destined for. I couldn’t have done it without Le Cordon Bleu.
How did studying the Grand Diplôme help you to achieve your current role? What’s your fondest memory from Le Cordon Bleu?
Studying the Grand Diplôme gave me the tools, skills and knowledge I needed to succeed in my endeavor. My fondest memories were definitely the pastry practicals. Those mouthwatering smellls that came from the kitchen as we prepared one item after the other and that utter pleasure that came with the completion of a flawless dessert.
Do you still meet with Le Cordon Bleu graduates?
Of course! I had the chance to be part of a cohesive and friendly group, so we still meet to catch up and remember the good times we spent together as a team.
What has been the best moment in your career so far? What have been some challenges you’ve overcome in your role?
The best moments were undeniably the delightful comments I got from my customers who couldn’t believe what they were eating. Nothing beats the look on their face after their first bite.
A definite challenge were the long standing hours! But that’s a chef’s life!
What advice would you give to anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Discipline and organization are key. And that’s coming from an already disciplined and organized person. You can never understate the importance of these two qualities.
Passion is another essential factor. Unless you are crazy passionate about what you do, you cannot succeed in it. You must be in love with your work.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I simply can’t name only one person. I get inspired by and look up to all the amazing French pastry chefs who aren’t mere artisans but artists who use the ingredients at hand to produce delicate edible work of arts.
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