Page 44 - NA_3_4_2009

Basic HTML Version

42 Pastry & Baking
North America
Chef in Focus
In 2000, I made the decision to pursue pastry and returned to
SAIT and enrolled in their Pastry Arts Program. Best decision
I ever made.
Where have you worked?
After completing the pastry program, I joined Delta Hotels in
2000 and was with them for two years in Calgary. I was then
offered an opportunity to be part of Delta’s opening team for
their new resort property in British Columbia. That was fantastic
but I missed the city life so after one year I transferred back to
Calgary and the Fairmont Hotel. I was at the Fairmont for two
and half years and then was presented the opportunity to be
part of the opening team for Saint Germain – a new upscale
French bistro located in Hotel Arts. That was 2006 and I’ve now
been promoted to corporate pastry chef for Hotel Arts.
You’ve received considerable notoriety for your work. What
do you love about pastry?
For me, it’s the classics! Everything I do today is derived from
understanding the history and foundation upon which ‘pastry’
has evolved. I love the exact science of this art and the multitude
of techniques associated with creating the final products.
What is your flavor philosophy?
Keep it simple. I don’t layer too many flavors because they
will over power each other.
How important is it to have your own personal “style” (i.e.,
signature recipes, etc.)?
I believe this is a natural progression once you’ve mastered
the classics. With experience and confidence a chef’s skills
grow and so does the imagination and desire to interpret.
How do you cater specifically to the guests at Hotel Arts and
what is unique about the hotel experience?
At Hotel Arts all of our amenities and banquet desserts are
tailored for the guests. I am empowered to make the guest's
experience memorable so I can make a mini birthday cake for
a guest that has a reservation in Raw Bar or make a miniature
tiered wedding cake for another guest celebrating an anniversary.
My team enjoys the latitude and free creative rein.
I am al so for tunate for the
opportunity to work with the best
available ingredients. We’re lucky in this
regard as management provides us all
the tools to over deliver on the guest’s
expectations. Small details like our
chocolate chip turndown cookies are
baked daily.
Do you see a shift in your guest’s
expectations? More healthy? More
exotic? More complex?
I’ve definitely seen a change in the
guest’s expectations. They are more
knowledgeable and know what they
want. Guest’s want the dessert but much
less sugar added and carbs. Definitely
more fruit desserts as well. I also provide
options for diet restrictions as well as celiac friendly desserts,
lactose and gluten free, and vegan. It is part of my job to
provide desserts for everyone and put these options on the
menu, not as an extra that guests have to ask for.
With regard to new recipes, how does the creative process
generally work for you?
I usually start with what’s in season. We have such a short
growing season here so I’ll buy fruit in summer that is ripe
and freeze it to last us through the winter, hopefully. I’m
motivated with seasonal menus and chef’s menus. They keep
me creative and challenged. It all starts with fresh ingredients
for me. It’s hard not to get excited about summer menus
when all of the ingredients are local and within a 100 mile
Do you have a favorite medium? Chocolate, plated desserts,
It’s chocolate. I appreciate the different beans and countries
of origin and the various flavor profiles inherent to each.
I usually have two different chocolate desserts on the Raw
Bar menu and I enjoy seeing both of them compete with each
What are your favorite ingredients?
My favorite ingredient would be a 52% cream that whips in
less than 1 minute (heavenly). I also love organic eggs because
their protein is so strong and the beautiful color of the yolks.
As well as organic flour milled two days before it arrives in
the kitchen. That makes me smile every time.
Is it difficult being a woman in this industry?
No. This industry is difficult regardless. Being a woman just
gives me a different perspective then my male colleagues.
What does the future hold for Karine Moulin?
As a pastry chef, I look forward to expanding my role with
the Hotel Arts Group. It’s a fantastic opportunity, my dream
job, and nothing is more satisfying than over delivering on
a guest’s expectations which keeps them coming back again
and again.