Having joined Aalst Chocolate in March 2016, many of you might not know Chef Jacques Poulain, an experienced French Pastry Chef and Chocolatier with strong passion for his job while traveling and exploring new ideas for pastry and chocolate.
Who exactly is he? Let’s find out more below:
Q1: Good Morning Chef, how are you? Please tell us more about yourself?
A: Good morning! My love for chocolate started when I was still a child working with my dad in his pastry shop in France. I was 17 when I got my first job overseas and have never looked back since. Throughout my career, I am blessed to work with the best pastry chef and MOF, together we served some of the most prestigious and recognised celebrities around the globe.
Travelling through different continents for more than 20 years gave me the perfect opportunity to satisfy my thirst for knowledge in everything related to chocolate; from visiting the most faraway cocoa plantations to picking of the rarest cocoa beans and lastly, to the tasting of exquisite cocoa profiles and its blends.
After starting my own business and working in many luxurious hotel chains, I felt it was perfect time to join Aalst Chocolate in March 2016 as the Vice President of Business Development for Food Service Brand, Pâtissier as well as being its Corporate Chef.
It was a golden opportunity for me as a passionate chocolatier to combine my vast experience and Entrepreneurial spirit, bringing Pâtissier to a greater height.
Q2: What is it like to hold a dual role in Aalst Chocolate?
A: One word, Challenging! Being the Vice-President of Pâtissier, I am always on the road, travelling, meeting and talking to people and customers as this is the best and fastest way to understand the ever-changing demand in the Food Service industry. Together with these market knowledge, I am able to design the Pâtissier range accordingly.
At the end of the day, it is the chefs in the kitchen that will be using our chocolate. Hence, we need to create some kind of synergy between them and Pâtissier; me being the Corporate Chef hopes to bond them both together.
Q3: Great Chef! I can feel that you see huge potential in Patissier! What are some food trends that you foresee and how will they affect Pâtissier in the near future?
A: Currently, the trend will be dark chocolate with less sugar and stronger taste profile. With the population being more health conscious and multiple researches showing that dark chocolate is beneficial to the body, I don’t see this trend declining in the near future.
We have the two excellent dark couverture, Pâtissier Artisan 73% and 64% that matches the market demand perfectly because of its unique taste and cocoa profile. In addition, with our comprehensive range of products, we are able to satisfy every segments of the market, not only trends.
Q4: What is your vision for Pâtissier and what do you hope to achieve in 2017?
A: My vision is to develop Pâtissier into a reputable brand that focuses on quality, values and experience.
I want to improve brand recognition of Pâtissier in the International Food Service industry and of course, increase market demand of its products.
Q5: Lastly, as an experienced & well-travelled pastry chef, what advice will you give to young and aspiring chefs that are in the chocolate industry?
A:“Lots of love, finest ingredients and a little bit of magic”