Grand Diplôme alumni Javier Jimenez Morales and Yuka Toda, met at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and now share their lives and a pastry boutique in Lima, Peru. They tell us about how they met and what they have been doing since they graduated with their Grand Diplôme.
Why did you choose to study culinary arts?
Javier: When I was a kid, I used to cook with my father. Since then, I developed my passion for cooking. I had come at a point in my life where I was not happy with what I was doing, so I decided to go back to the beginning and pursue what made me happy and motivated every day.
Yuka: I was drawn to cooking since I was a child as well. I started working at a pastry shop during holidays in high school. Despite the long hours, my passion grew and I knew this was what I wanted as a career. What I love is how happy a great meal or a delicious pastry can make someone feel. I love how I can bring more joy to the world through the food that I cook.
Do you remember what you learned in class on the day you first met?
Yuka: Javier was working as an assistant when I first saw him in basic demo. The next trimester, Javier didn't come back so I thought I had missed my chance. It turned out he was taking French courses at the time, and came back to finish his superior at the same time I started superior.
During our first class together, we learned how to cook Sea Bass Coulibiac stuffed with quail eggs. After classes, many of the students gathered at the local bar on Rue Vaugirard. I shared with Javier the fish I cooked that day, and we have been together ever since.
How did you have the idea of opening this business together?
Yuka: Javier's parents are entrepreneurs, so he grew up wanting to start his own business. After we graduated, I went to university and Javier went back to Lima. We both felt unsatisfied because we wanted to continue cooking. Javier suggested that we should start something together. After a few months, I quit university and we started our own business.
Why did you name it Vau&Girard?
Javier: We wanted to choose a name that told our story. Rue Vaugirard holds sentimental value to us because it is the street where we met. We named it Vau&Girard to symbolise the two of us. One is Vau, and the other is Girard!
What kind of pastry do you sell?
Yuka: Our products are based on French-Japanese techniques and unique Peruvian ingredients to create pastries that you will only be able to find at VAU&GIRARD. For example, our line of macarons feature flavours such as chirimoya, Peruvian lime, and lucuma, which are exclusive fruits from Peru.
What are your projects for your future career?
Javier: We plan to expand VAU&GIRARD throughout Peru, and other countries. We also have other projects for the future that will involve cuisine!