Nina Métayer : A Pastry Chef without borders
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the print edition of the 2022 spring-summer issue of Luxus+ Mag. Click here to see the full issue.
Nina Métayer bakes her cakes to perfection, but she’s burning up the stages in her career as a pastry chef.
Distinguished twice in a row (2016 and 2017) Pastry Chef of the Year by Gault et Millau, before her 30th birthday, she has worked for Palaces (the Meurice, the Raphael), the Grand Restaurant (starred) or the Café Pouchkine. In 2019, she started consulting in Haute Pâtisserie. And at the end of 2020, she inaugurated her 100% digitalized pastry shop: delicatesserie.com.
Nina, Did you always want to make pastry your profession?
“I took my first steps in pastry with friends. After school, we used to prepare cakes for the afternoon snack. It was mainly my desire to travel, to open stores abroad to share French know-how, which is recognized worldwide in this field, that guided my career choice. After bread and pastries, I discovered that the field of possibilities was infinite in pastry making and I decided to devote myself fully to it.
What was the most important part of your training?
“My identity was built step by step, through experiences and encounters. Pastry is a profession of transmission, each step is important. I still have a privileged relationship with Denis Baron, my first apprenticeship master in La Rochelle, as well as with my teachers at the Ferrandi School in Paris. I started in the Parisian palaces. And it was at Le Meurice, under the direction of Yannick Alléno, in the sweet brigade of my mentor Camille Lesecq that I really learned my trade. Then, Amandine Chaignot gave me the opportunity to express myself at the Hôtel Raphaël by entrusting me with my first position as chef. Then, Jean-François Piège’s sensitivity and demands in the kitchens of a starred restaurant (the Grand Restaurant, editor’s note) was very formative. At Café Pouchkine, I (re)discovered the world of boutique pastry, in an international context. Today, as part of my training for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition, I learn a lot from them.
Just before the Covid, you launched a new adventure, online pastry with delicatisserie.com. What did you learn from this experience?
“When I made the entrepreneurial choice in 2019, I put my know-how in high pastry and business
development at the service of professionals. Since then, for example, we have already contributed to the opening of three establishments in London, signed the menus for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 1931 Café in four countries, Chaoyi Buer in Shanghai and Nina Métayer Café in Riyadh. But from the beginning of this adventure, I also had the project of developing a direct offer for sweet tooths, like in a boutique. Choosing digitalization and on-
demand production was an obvious choice, in line with my approach and my conviction that excellence, ecology and social commitment are values as necessary for a sustainable future as they are economically viable.
Since then, you have also opened a point of sale at Printemps du Goût. What are the first returns and what project(s) are you working on today?
“This opening was a natural development for Délicatisserie. The Printemps du goût boutique is both a collection point for online orders and a great address to respond to spontaneous gourmet cravings, both on site and to take away. We also have other openings planned, in order to be as close as possible to our customers, the first one at the end of the summer at the gates of Paris. And on the BtoB side, we are also working with more and more people in France and abroad. Our teams are growing and I am now a happy pastry chef and company manager!”
Is being a woman a handicap to succeed in the very masculine world of Haute Pâtisserie? What advice would you give to young women who would like to enter this profession?
NM: “Pastry, like cooking, is a demanding profession. Even though it is evolving, management has long been exclusively male. In this field, women are particularly exposed, as if they had to prove themselves even more than their male counterparts. This has certainly led me to surpass myself, to work relentlessly to prove that I was up to the task. To young women, I would say that it is possible, that they must trust themselves and dare to aim for excellence.
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Featured photo : © M.S
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