Pastry chefs have spoken out in despair about the lack of training and strict culinary curriculum which is leading to a lowering of international patissier standards.
Culinary institutions have dropped standards, and head chefs are not dedicating enough time to developing employee skill, they said.
Claire Clark, renowned patissier and consultant, admitted: “When I was training, we would never expect to be at Michelin star level and not be able to do chocolate work, but the skill base is getting less and less now.
“[In the UK] we have gone from City of Guilds to NVQs and students can choose components – they can choose dough, or tarts, or custards. They don’t have to complete a full curriculum."
Clark, who has worked as pastry chef around the world, including renowned US restaurant The French Laundry and the UK House of Commons, admitted that it is an international problem.
“Probably, with the exception of France, I do [think the problem is worldwide]. Although even the States are better than [the UK] is.”
David Miras, executive chef at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai, has just introduced an afternoon tea in the resort’s lounge bar and said even though he was confident in his chefs’ abilities, he was concerned about the industry’s standard as a whole.
“That’s why I want my team to go back to basics,” he said. “Just [recently] I bought a new book on classical French training. We will go through it page by page.
“Many chefs today try to run before they can walk. Many don’t have that strong classical background, and they need those strong basics to succeed in the long run.”
However Marie Wucher, pastry chef at STAY by Yannick Alléno at One&Only The Palm, is confident that the influx of French concepts to the UAE will help to push standards in this region at least.
“France has a cultured history of pastry and artistry behind it and is certainly at the heart of the evolution of the pastries and bakery.
“Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire in Dubai has introduced the concept of contemporary artistic cuisine," she said.
"Chef Yannick Alléno has created a unique concept which is the pastry library: I offer an interactive experience with the guests to share my creativity and passion and offering some of my little creations before the degustation of the desserts that I will prepare in front of them."