Berlin Travelogue Heroes #5 Teddy, the French macaron magician

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"I believe that putting your personnality and emotions into what you are doing makes a huge difference"

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your passion project?
My name is Teddy, and I come from the Caribbean. I am 35 years old, and I moved to Berlin 3 years ago. From the beginning, I wanted to open a cafe together with my German partner. I love baking - what is great about it is going through the whole process of creating something from nothing. In the end, you end up with something beautiful to look at and most importantly, tasty. The reason why I wanted to open my own place, apart from the obvious love for pastries, is that I got tired of cakes that look nice but taste really dull - I wanted to change that.

 The original Caribbean 'Coconut freezer’ machine

The original Caribbean 'Coconut freezer’ machine

I grew up baking at home - my family, all six of us, were always cooking together and every Sunday, we made a different cake. We do also love ice cream, and we add coconuts to pretty much all the dishes in the Caribbean, so I recently bought an original ‚Coconut freezer’ machine to make them here, in the cafe.
Also, my neighbor back in the Caribbean used to make cakes every weekend, and I would go and bake with her and then she would sell them.
After that, funny enough, I had a break from baking - I moved to Paris when I was 18, then to London and back to Paris, where I spent 13 years in total. I wanted to become a teacher, so I did my English literature diploma in England, but that did not happen. That was the moment when I went back to baking - my initial passion. Paris, as I realized, had already so many bakers and pastry shops so I thought Berlin might be a perfect choice.

When did you decide to make a living out of your passion?
As I mentioned before, I felt strongly about making and introducing cakes that look not only good but also taste fantastic - I believe that putting your personality and emotions into what you are doing makes a huge difference in taste. For me, it has to be a love story - from the beginning to the end. I do pay attention to every step when I bake - I look at the dough, I try to ‚feel it’ and all the ingredients that go into it.

 What do you bring from your roots into your baking?
I do bring a lot of ‚love’ into my baking. My heart is definitely in everything I do. I also use spices specifically from the Caribbean to add a ‚extra flavor’ that people can’t recognize. My plan is also to introduce more dishes from the Caribbean.
 

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"I love baking - what is great about it is going through the whole process of creating something from nothing"

What is your routine before getting into the creative process?
I do not have a particular routine. I do, however, have to be in a quiet place as I noticed that when I am stressed the cakes suffer badly - the mood and feelings do influence how my creations turn out and I do consider myself to be a perfectionist - they have to taste great. If they don’t, then I sometimes throw the dough away. I also take ideas from tv shows or people I meet and then I try to make it my own - with my style. My recent invention is a coconut and lemon tart which initially was just a lemon and very well known one but I experimented with, and it turned out coconut and lemon combination work wonders!

When was the last time you got impressed by a pastry chef?
I get very impressed by Pierre Hermé, a French pastry chef - in France everybody knows him! I do think that he pays attention to similar things as I do. I have a lot of his books and of course, other chefs too. I need to focus on the visual side of cakes as well - people eat with their eyes. 

What’s the most difficult cake that you once tried to make?
With cakes, you have to know what you are doing - there is not much ‚trying’. There is a cake called ‚St. Honoré’, a pastry named for the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.
This classic French dessert is a circle of puff pastry at its base with a ring of pâte à choux piped on the outer edge. It is pretty difficult to make as you have to mix two different textures, but it is delicious.

Interview made on a sunny day the April 27th in Berlin at Les enfants du paradis
Made by Kama - beautiful pictures by Kama

Take a look at the pictures of our workshop, here!