It is quite natural to have sweet cravings and it one of the most satisfying feeling for our taste buds to enjoy great desserts but do you ever wonder the person who has created such an alluring dessert for us? A lot of people may not think about it but still there are many who do. Being a chef is not an easy task and being a pastry chef has its own challenges too. To become a pastry chef of highest repute, a lot of hard work and dedication is needed as pastry making or designing a dessert is an art to master. Today we would like to present one such master pastry chef who has perfect understanding of pastry elements and is an ultimate in patisserie perfection.
Meet Chef Aaron Maree, highly successful & highly talented International Pastry chef and a Dessert consultant, highly famous author of more than 15 cookbooks including the world famous cookbook “Arabian Dreams” on modern middle eastern desserts, which won him awards in Paris and with it, he could change the face of Middle Eastern Desserts globally. A vivid traveler & a great teacher.
Apart from that Chef Aaron has won many more awards & accolades, like he has been a “Fellow of the World Master Chefs Society”, has been proud recipient of Culinary Order of Merit, had been awarded Young Queenslander of the Year 1990 by QLD, Australia and Young Achiever Awards 1991 by Channel Nine – Australia apart from receiving an Advance Australia Award for Service to the Food Industry in year 1996. He also happens to be the Youngest TAFE Lecturer in Australia.
Aaron Maree, hails from Australia, highly educated from various prestigious culinary institutes across Australia, France, Switzerland & USA. His professional career started from England where he worked under pastry chef Brian Baker and took him back to Australia again as a lecturer. After teaching for 3 years, he went to New Zealand to work with Death by Chocolate Worldwide. After 7 years, this great chef returned to Australia one more time to be a chocolate consultant with Cadbury Schweppess.
There after he got a great opportunity and he started his full time pastry chef work when he joined Movenpick Restaurants of Switzerland, Canada as a Patissier. After this he started his own patisserie in Canada by the name Dip me in Chocolate which he winded up & sold later, moving on to take another opportunity with Holland America Line Cruise Ships, Seattle USA and managed the entire pastry operations with his team for various cruises, days at length.
With his excellent pastry knowledge & great experience, Chef Aaron got a great opportunity & a very challenging task to work at Al Rawdha Palace, Kingdom of Bahrain as an Executive Patissier catering to the Royalty & highest dignitaries of the Bahrain, which he handled very well for 7 years, after that he did pastry consultancy jobs with some Boutique hotels and private businesses in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Los Angeles, USA.
This incredibly talented chef was judged & chosen to be one of the top 5 Pastry chefs of the Middle East for 2012 and rated as one of the Top 5 Food Guru’s of The Middle East. Currently with his vast experience & unparalleled expertise, he is handling the entire pastry operations at Peninsula Manila Hotel, Makati City, Manila with his team of 25 people.
We interviewed chef Aaron and would like to share the same with our viewers as it gives an insight into this great chef’s mind and his pastry passion:
Q: When did you decide to be a pastry chef?
A: I was 13 when I decided cooking was the career I wanted to work. I eventually found a job and was granted a beginner’s role of dishwashing and making garlic bread on the weekends. Weekends eventually lasted weeks and then i was given basic work such as buffet and salad mise-en-place to do. When i turned 14 the kitchen i was working in employed a Danish pastry chef and what he was doing with pastry I found amazing. I requested to work with him and began an apprenticeship in pastry that same year.
4 years later I would be in London working for Gary Rhodes at the Castle Hotel, Taunton, later I worked at Hambleton Hall under another famed name Chef Brian Baker before returning to Australia at age 20.
Upon returning to Australia I was fortunate enough to find a publishing company interested in publishing a book concept I had and it was received well worldwide and the publishing house offered me a future whereby I published a total of 14 books. My last book with them was published in 2001.
Q: What has been the most rewarding moment in your career so far?
A: Meeting and working with some of the greatest chefs in the world is definitely a major plus of my career. I have been privileged in my career to travel a lot as well seeing 87 countries. But by far the biggest reward was receiving two awards in Paris for the last cookbook I wrote, ARABIAN DREAMS. It was a personal feat of writing, editing and photography and a pet project I wanted to thank the industry that had been so good to me for three decades. When it was praised and awarded it felt great.
To be honest though the entire career has been rewarding. More so than most could dream. I have published 16 books over my career, I have worked as a chocolate consultant to one of the largest chocolate companies, I have worked in franchising on a global level, i have had the ability to travel, have worked for a King and Queen and numerous world leaders, major brands of hotels and been corporate Pastry chef for some major companies. Its a ever changing career and it has been very rewarding all round.
Q: What has been the toughest thing you have done in your line of work?
A: Standing on your feet for thirty years and doing the hours. Its a tough job physically. Thankfully the amazing food we have created among the many teams I have worked with has been rewarding enough.
Q: What advise would you like to give to the new pastry chefs starting out in this field?
A: Do not come into the industry based on watching anything on television. It is a tough job and paid college courses do not prepare you for the level of stress, hours, and expectations of the brigade that you will encounter. I’m not sure that if I started today that even I would last the same thirty-three years I have worked in the industry. I’m very happy to be where I am in my career with the work and skills behind me now, rather than in-front of me.
It is though a fantastic career and allows you to work in so many countries and in more areas than virtually any other job, ships, restaurants, hotels, resorts, islands, stand alone businesses and eventually your own business, and always surrounded by amazing cakes and pastries.
Chef Aaron Maree is true pastry genius, he has earned a name & a great place for himself in the Patisserie world with his hard work, sincere dedication, absolute passion and un-parallel & unmatched patisserie skills and above all, for sharing his pastry knowledge with the world through his books. He is truly a great inspiration to all the new pastry chefs trying to make a place for themselves in the pastry world.
Cheers Chef Aaron Maree!
Post by: Parul Khanna / Appy Bistro
Picture courtesy: Aaron Maree
Categories: Cheer the Chefs