Pastry chef Antonio Bachour talks about his childhood in Puerto Rico and Mysore Pak
Anyone who is a fan of dessert and baking has heard of dessert maestro, chef Antonio Bachour. The social media savvy chef, who grew up in Puerto Rico and is now based in Miami, was selected as the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the United States. The chef was in town for a pop-up at Lavonne Patisserie where he made some signature creations such as Torta Gianduia, Coconut Rice Pudding with Passion Fruit Foam, Honolulu Cheesecake and Bachour Tea Cakes. Excerpts from our interview:
We heard you got your love of making desserts from your mother. Tell us more.
Yes, you are absolutely right about that. My mother has been a great inspiration for me as a boy. Watching and helping her cook and bake was my favourite thing to do. Also, I spent most of my time in my family bakery in Puerto Rico, where I got to learn a lot of my basics. Growing up in Puerto Rico, I had access to a ton of beautiful produce and tropical fruits, which inspire me even today.
What is an unusual flavour pairing you enjoy working with?
I absolutely love and cherish working with tropical fruits and berries. It gets very interesting when paired with Asian or Middle Eastern ingredients. The Mango and Jasmine Rice Pudding infused with pandan is a must try.
Which were your favourite desserts at this pop-up?
The Honolulu Cheesecake and the Caribbean Passion are very close to my heart.
Have you sampled any Indian desserts?
The last time I visited Lavonne in Bengaluru, I got to try out several Indian Desserts. Gulab Jamoon, Gajar Halwa, Rasmalai, Mysore Pak, Jalebi and also the Rassgulla. Although they were all extremely sweet, I was absolutely in love with the techniques used to make them.
Lots of people try their hands at home baking, especially inspired by social media. What advice do you have for them?
Home baking is good and you may surely be able to replicate recipes out of cookbooks or YouTube. But if you are passionate about the craft, you must go to a pastry school and learn the basics, the arts and the science involved in the creation of beautiful products. There are a lot of technicalities involved that you may not be able to learn or understand at home. Baking and pastry is all science. You will have to know the “why” more than the “how”, if you know what I mean.