Culinary Arts

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

Dominique Ansel

Lesson time 07:12 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.

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Dominique Ansel
Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals
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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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...


The Art of French Pastry

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.



Reviews

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

Great broad base of useful and inspirational knowledge.

Although I was familiar with a lot of the techniques Dominique Ansel used, to actually see them performed by a master, along with his explanations, helped take my experience and understanding to a new level.

Chef Dominique is so humble and he knows so much! I'm learning so much and I want to try everything quickly. Thank you so much! I love the classes!

Learned some great techniques that I will be able to apply in multiple recipes, this has helped shape a strong foundation in pastry. I hope he put's out a second course with more recipes within his pastry shop.


Comments

Eric S.

I just love everything about Mr. Dominique Ansel. His story to the ease in which he works. It brings forth simplicity in his approach. I love it I could say three times..... In Fact I will: I loved it I loved it I loved it...!

A fellow student

Did he just say that he cleaned the bathroom and then went and made more pastries. Hmm. That’s the secret to French cooking.

Jeana F.

At 2:51, I believe the inaudible word in the closed caption is 'binders'. ("There's binders with recipes at each station.")

Ramona W.

What a fascinating journey...I love the drive and ambition Chef Dominique has. I only cook for my husband and share with friends. (otherwise we'd weigh a ton! lol) I love the kitchen, it's my therapy.

Antonina Z.

The classes are perfect, but unfortunately I can`t download the PDF lesson. Could you help?

Mindy F.

I am incredibly impresses by how humble Chef Ansel is and what a hard worker he is.

Pradeepti S.

A very inspiring journey it is !!! Keep following your dreams, listen to your inner voice, and just keep going, no matter what. Success is about being consistent in putting efforts and not giving up after repeated setbacks or failures.

Steve O.

Absolutely amazing to hear him like this. I've always wished I could take a professional pastry class and this is the closest thing I've ever had to that. So excited to listen to the rest of the lessons.

A fellow student

What an inspirational person Dominique is. Very humble man who bought tears to my eyes. Most people see the end results. But they don't realise how much work, time and effort has gone to achieve the level he is at. I thank you so much for sharing this with me Dominique. You deserve the very best in life.

Bryan J.

Great story of passion and success . Really appreciated hearing his background journey