#NZbloggers are hosting a weekly blog post challenge. This week’s theme is Passions In Life and you can check out other posts on this theme here.
Passions in life
I have been designing for 10 years and extremely fortunate to have found my passion early. When I was fifteen I wanted to be a graphic designer and by sixteen I had done work experience at two design agencies. At seventeen I was awarded a scholarship and at eighteen accepted into a design programme. I have collected a couple more passions over the years but graphic design is my greatest passion (and the one that puts food on the table).
This post is about another person who found their passion at fifteen and is creating his own delicious empire on the back of that passion.
I was delighted to be invited to the grand opening of Ma Cherie’s courtyard cafe in Ponsonby last week. It was an evening of tasty morsels, music and French champagne. The macaron tower was the star and was well and truly devoured over the course of the evening.
I brought along my sister Joey, who is an artist and macaron connoisseur. She knows a thing or two about macarons and has eaten them in France so the obvious choice for my plus one.
While we were there, we met up with Cecilia and Rayshur from Ultimate Om Noms.
Ma Cherie (pronounced ma shae-ree) means “my darling” in French and is owned by Guillaume Nicoli. Guillaume (pronounced geee-oom) is a “World famous in New Zealand” pastry chef, has featured on The Good Morning Show and was guest judge on Masterchef.
Guillaume was a perfect host, entertaining and dividing his time while making the rounds. Guillaume is French and he also has Italian blood, which may explain his passion for food. He chatted to us about his food, his personal history and also about taking pleasure in seeing others enjoy food.
French pastries are notoriously difficult to perfect and the passion that Guillaume has for his craft is clear.
Ma Cherie make many different kinds of pastry including macarons, croissants (and their very popular almond croissants), eclairs, tarts, mille feuille….oh my.
You can find Ma Cherie treats at Farro Fresh and Nosh and also in cafes around Auckland. Visit their courtyard cafe at Shop 12, 282 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby. Open from 7.30am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
To find out more about Ma Cherie, visit www.macherie.co.nz.
I asked Guillaume to humour me a little Q&A to get better understanding of his creative mind and passions in life.
Q&A with Guillaume Nicoli, Ma Cherie
1. What aspect of your job are you most passionate about?
I love creating new products all the time, as a Pastry Chef there are unlimited combinations of flavour, textures, smell, design we can use to make new pastries. But the one point I love the most is to see the eyes of people how are eating my pastries, if I see their eye looking like an enjoyment or pleasure, that is my happiness. I always believe life is hard for anyone, if with my pastries I can give a few seconds of happiness to people what can be better?
2. When did you realise you wanted to be a pastry chef?
I was 15 years old, after doing a few work experiences in butchery and bakery I didn’t enjoy it a lot. But with my first work experience in a high standard finest Pastry place, it was a revelation for me, I knew that will be my work for the rest of my life. It took me 2 years to convince my parents to quit my studies, then I started an apprenticeship with the Maestro Thierry Mulhaupt who taught me all the secrets of Pastries…
3. What are three sources of creative inspiration for you?
First: High quality products help me to better understand what will match together or not.
Second: Using my French knowledge and understanding of New Zealand demand, to create a fusion between our both cultures.
Third: Design. So important to imagine form, volume, and colour. Any pastries are first ‘’eaten’’ with eyes…
4. Favourite restaurant?
Meredith’s, I love his creations and he always surprises me with his meals.
5. There’s pot luck dinner tomorrow night, what are you bringing?
Macaron and Champagne…as is it such an enjoyable combination