This talented and iconoclastic head pastry chef, creator at École Valrhona and now Creative Director at Valrhona, has already written five reference works on chocolate. Not only is this maestro of patisserie curious and passionate, a virtuoso of creativity, but he’s also an author of delicious recipes, constantly inspired by breathing new life into the world of indulgence.
A lover of flavor, Frédéric Bau has held onto the enthusiasm of his childhood and kept an incredible capacity to find wonder and above all, ask the right question—why? Why should we do as we’ve always done, why not invent other ways of doing things, why not try, invent, innovate? He feels that he must break the rules, to make his profession advance and anticipate society’s developments. Cheeky but always clear, he is well-known for his ability to pursue a small thought, develop it and cultivate it until it becomes a great idea. And this is what he has done once again with Reasoned Gourmandise, which could well be a real turning point both for modern pastry and Valrhona.
A CHEF AND ARTIST
He’s an artist and a creative maestro at Valrhona. But, first and foremost, Frédéric Bau is a talented French pastry chef who has trained alongside some of his industry’s biggest names. Born in 1965 in Lorraine, he first discovered pastry-making at home, then began an apprenticeship with Pierre Koenig in Metz. At the age of 17, he won the title of Best Apprentice in France, and the following year, his dream of working with Claude Bourguignon came true.
The famous Metz pastry chef became his mentor, and introduced him to Pierre Hermé two years later. Frédéric Bau joined the master of modern patisserie in Paris, and discovered another vision of his profession: “before, I made cakes, with Pierre Hermé, I became a pastry chef”.
In 1987, he came to work at Valrhona and refined his knowledge of chocolate. In 1989, he founded the Valrhona École du Grand Chocolat and directed it for 20 years, making it a reference for technical chocolate expertise. To this day, the biggest names in international pastry-making still share their ideas and techniques at this pioneering academy, which has become a benchmark for all food artisans.
Pioneer of entirely chocolate menus, he is one of the rare chefs to master the perfect balance of using chocolate in both savory and sweet dishes. In 2012, he developed Blond Dulcey 32%. In 2017, he set up “De Main de Maître”, a series of conferences and demonstrations inspired by artistic techniques, to share his vision of the creative process with privileged Valrhona clients and food professionals from the world over. Always on the lookout for innovative ideas, he spearheads new suggestions and recipes to offer to Valrhona clients and advises them in the best ways to use new couvertures.
Author of many books, he has appeared on a large number of TV cooking shows, including: judge on “Meilleur Pâtissier” (Best Pastry Chef ) and host of the semi-final in 2017, “Top Chef” chocolate special in 2018, presenter of the second season of “Les Rois du Gâteau” (Kings of Cake) alongside Cyril Lignac in 2019.