Chef of the Month: Kay Baumgardt, Switzerland’s Patissier of the Year in 2020
Kay is originally from Germany and has been awarded Patissier of the Year 2020 in Switzerland by Gault & Millau.
1. What inspired you to become a pastry chef?
I signed up for an apprenticeship as a baker, where I had my first contact with a patisserie, and I was immediately under its spell.
2. Where did you train to cook?
I started out with a baker apprenticeship in Germany. This was followed by training as a pastry chef/confectioner in Gstaad, Switzerland, in Charly’s tearoom with Stefan Romang.
3. Tell us about your work at the Gasthaus zur Fernsicht? How would you describe your desserts and style?
At the Gasthaus zur Fernsicht, I am responsible for the entire patisserie area. My desserts and my style are based on classic patisserie. But with my new approach of not using white sugar or applying the methods of fermentation, I have gone is a modern, innovative direction. For me it is important to get the purest and best taste a product has to offer.
4. What’s the most popular dessert item on the menu?
That is difficult to say. But one of my classics is certainly “The Stone” – toasted rye flour, apple, yogurt, and parsley.
5. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in very different ways and places: whether talking to colleagues or taking a walk in nature. Visiting and talking to various producers gives me new ideas that I’m eager to test out.
6. We love that you have banned white sugar from your kitchen. What was the reason for that and what ingredients are you using instead?
A few years ago I was thinking about it, as the desserts are too sweet in my opinion. I couldn’t stand it anymore. It occurred to me to just work with the product’s own sweetness. Or use alternative sweeteners such as honey or homemade syrups.
7. What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
There are a lot of things I like to work with. The nice thing is that you can always rediscover yourself and the product. For me this is pure creativity.Chef Kay Baumgardt
8. You have a wide international experience, having worked in Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Ireland, England and Italy. Are there any differences in high-end patisserie in these places or is it more or less the same?
Every country has its own culinary facet. But that’s exactly why I’ve been to so many countries. I wanted to learn, see, and get the best out of it all for myself.
9. You won the Pattisier of the Year award in 2020. First of all, congratulations on the award. What does it mean to you?
It is something special for everyone! Especially when you are recognized for your passion. A very great honor.
10. What sets a top chef apart from the pack?
The pure dedication and at the same time the drive to always want to improve.Chef Kay Baumgardt
11. What’s the best dessert you’ve ever had?
Of course, you got the best desserts from mom and grandma. Childhood memories. In a restaurant it was definitely the chocolate cherry dessert from Heston Blumenthal. Unique! The different layers and textures… just perfect.
12. What advice would you give someone who wants to become a successful pastry chef?
A good basis is important. Patisserie is very extensive. Precise work, weighing, etc. You have to give yourself time, but at the same time you can’t stand still.
13. Please provide a tip for home cooks to help them improve their cooking.
Try it out, over and over again. Further education, attend courses.Chef Kay Baumgardt