Sophie de Bernardi: "Social media showcases pastry as an art, with aesthetics, flavours and colours"

Sophie de Bernardi: "Social media showcases pastry as an art"
26 November 2019
Sophie de Benardi - dessert - ICF
At the helm of Café de la Paix in Paris, Sophie de Bernardi creates modern, floral pastries, enhancing fruit flavours with plant aromas. We take a look at her culinary signature and her vision for the pastry of tomorrow.

How would you define your pastry style? What is your culinary identity?

I particularly like to use flowers in my baking. When I was little, I wanted to work in perfume and I managed to bring this aspect into pastry through flowers. I enjoy working with this element. At Café de la Paix, we continue to create classics like the millefeuille and the opera cake, but I also make a "chocolate garden" upon which I place flowers and a grapefruit dessert with lotus flower and marshmallow. I really like using all kinds of herbs and teas, too. I make a Paris-Brest with a champak flower and a grape tart with jasmine. This is my signature, and I like using them because, for me, it’s important to bring seasoning and a long finish to the flavour. I appreciate the fact that it doesn't just stop at the fruit. The fruit has a scent, but this can be developed even more. I like to think that with flowers, I add seasoning.

What is your favourite dessert?

My favourite dessert is a coffee éclair, with the classic fondant and a good choux pastry. I really like classic baking, and in my desserts, I always return to the classics while trying to bring my own touch. For my lemon pie, I add yuzu, matcha and geranium. My pastry is about good ingredients, flavour, fruit, a balanced taste and a burst of flavours with these teas, flowers and herbs.

Instagram, it's a bit like my personal gallery, like a painter exhibiting their paintings.

Your Instagram account is filled with colours, flowers and beautiful cakes. What role would you say social media plays in baking today?

It makes the profession more accessible and enables people to feel that these big companies are open to everyone. Social media is not essential, but it is a new medium that has its place in today's culinary world. We use it to show our creations. For me, it's a bit like my personal gallery, like a painter exhibiting their paintings. This showcases pastry as an art, with aesthetics, flavours and colours. It also allows you to see what is being done elsewhere, to evolve, to question yourself, to understand and to see how wonderful our profession is. And I see that we are going back to the flavour—real, simple ingredients without additives, colourings, or showiness—by implementing things that are good for your health, too.

For you, is this the definition of the future of pastry?

Absolutely, the trend is to stop using dyes and additives, and return to more natural ingredients, taking the time to work them more slowly to get the desired result. We’re going back to basics. My decorations, for example, are quite simple and rather natural: herbs, flowers and seeds that also bring a nutritious dimension.

See Sophie de Bernardi's Instagram account.

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