Food, Home & Lifestyle

Dominique’s Journey: Beauvais, Boulud, and the Bakery

Dominique Ansel

Lesson time 07:11 min

Learn Chef Dominique’s unlikely path from a working-class town in Northern France to the pastry kitchen of a Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant—and finally—his very own bakery.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Dominique’s Journey: Beauvais, Boulud, and the Bakery


I grew up in a small town in the north of France. It was a town of factory worker, where my dad used to work in a factory and take care of the family. I was the last of four kids. And I grew up very humbly. When I was young, I absolutely didn't know what I wanted to do. I went to school until I was 16. And since my family couldn't afford to send me to school, I decided to find a job to help supporting the family. I found myself a job in a kitchen, thinking that it was going to be easy. I had a rough time in the beginning. I had no one to teach me. I was pushed around. I was bullied in kitchen. And I really didn't like it at all. I was doing a little bit of desserts. And I was very attracted by the fact that everything, when we were doing pastry, was very precise. The only recipes we had in the kitchen were the recipes for baking. The only time I was using a scale in kitchen was for baking. And every time I would do the same recipes, every single time, it would come out perfectly. And I was very satisfied with this. So after three years of working in my home town, I had to do my military service, which was mandatory at the time. I went to French Guiana, which is in South America. And everything changed for me. I was cooking for 600 people. It was hot. It was a different culture. It was exotic. I was in the middle of the rain forest. And I've learned a lot. After that, I came back to France. And I had saved about $2,000. So I bought myself a small car, a car that was falling apart. I drove myself to Paris every single day. And I would drive around being completely lost in a big city. And every time I would see a bakery, I would park my car and drop off a resume. I randomly walked by Fauchon. Fauchon is one of the finest pastry shops and retailer in Paris. They had a beautiful display of pastry. I decided to walk in with my resume. I got an interview right on the spot with the chef, and he offered me a job to start the next week. I was one of the 30 people they hired for the holidays. And the first day, I was told that they would only keep one person. And I had to fight against 30 other chefs, young chefs, in the kitchen. Very quickly, when you work in the kitchen, you realize how good you are, depending on which station you work. I myself worked at a cake station with all the chefs and all the sous chefs. And depending on how good you are, you move from one station to another. If you're really good, you stay with the chefs. If you're not that good, they push you away in the kitchen. Everything is meticulous. There's with recipes at each station. It's really structured. It's almost military discipline. And I quite liked it. Eventually, I was the one they asked to stay. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay in this position. And after just a few hours of thinking about it, I told myself, of course, I should be working with the best. Of course, it's difficult. Of course, I have to challenge myself from now...

About the Instructor

Celebrated for his innovative twists on classic desserts, Cronut® creator and James Beard Award-winner Dominique Ansel has been called the “world’s best pastry chef.” In his MasterClass, Dominique teaches his essential techniques for perfect pastries. Learn baking and more with his precise methods, add classic recipes to your repertoire, and explore texture and flavor inspirations to delight friends and family with your own decadent desserts.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Dominique Ansel

James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel teaches his essential techniques for making delicious pastries and desserts in his first-ever online class.

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