What made you start the bakery course at Le Cordon Bleu-Sookmyung Academy
I always wanted to go live abroad again someday, but I always thought that when I would leave Korea, I should have a skill of my own to take with me, and I would ask myself: “What could I do?”. I wanted to start the next chapter of my life but didn’t know what to do exactly. However, what I most liked was eating food. So I thought it would be nice to make the sandwiches and pastries I enjoyed eating while studying in France, so I ended up joining Le Cordon Bleu as it allowed me to learn French baking in Korea.
What do you do now?
Currently, I am the head bakery chef at <Maison Guillaume Cheongdam>, where I oversee all bakery-related work, including new menu development, production quality control, staff training, etc.
What was the most memorable activity at Le Cordon Bleu?
I remember the most participating in the pop-up store project while taking the advanced bakery course. Although only months before taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu, bread for me was something you bought, I never thought of making and selling them. However, five months into learning baking, starting with the basic course, I was able to have this challenging yet enriching experience of developing a menu, advertising, and selling products alongside classmates. Operating a pop-up store as the chief at my age, I overcame the fear of new challenges and became confident that I could successfully get a new job or start a new business.
How does what you learned help you in your career?
While I hoped to remember every recipe and every know-how that the chef’s taught us, in fact, what helps me the most in work I do today are what the chef emphasized the most: “Stay true to the basics,” “Don’t be fooled by fancy appearances.” I often see businesses that overlook taste and basics and are more sensitive to appearances to meet consumers’ preferences. Whenever I see such businesses, I remind myself to go back to what I learned at the academy and devote myself to focusing on taste and the basics when baking.
What do you put the most thought into when developing menus?
I focus most on delivering the best taste possible. I believe that I can deliver the best taste to customers only when good ingredients, technique true to the basics, and a consistent quality are used. A live dough is affected by many variables such as climate, temperature, humidity and more; remembering chef’s words that “there is no fixed time in making bread” and based on the master chef’s know-how I will work my best to realize the best taste in the business.
What are your objectives and plans ahead?
One of my first plans is to develop Korean-style bread and share it with the world. I also want to publish a book to systematically share this knowledge about creating and producing this kind of bread. My goal remains the same as that I set when I first started to learn baking. It is to start a business that I can run with my family and pass down to generations.
To me, Le Cordon Bleu is?
Le Cordon Bleu is a space that reminded me again of the passion and excitement for learning I felt when I was in school. After working for ten years, stopping everything I was doing, and coming into Le Cordon Bleu wondering, “could I do it?” now that I have completed the program, it remains as a space that reignites my passion. I hope that you can also make new memories of second student life.
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