Meet Eun Jeong Lee
Latecomer to the art of baking when she was 20 year-old, Eun Jeong attended the best schools of Europe. As a skilful expert, the Korean Chef is now the head of the EJ Baking Studio & Bakery Café: a place of sharing and conviviality where she teaches the finest secrets of French baking.
- What has your journey been like? What made you want to become pastry Chef?
- Following a baccalaureate in French and English literature, I applied for the Sungkyunkwan University (North Korea). In 1998, during a trip to Montréal I discovered Pecan Pie. It was love-at-first-sight and it sparked my desire to take up baking to give pleasure through delicious creations. I applied for the Valrhona School of Tokyo and went on to further my education at the Ecole Bellouet Conseil (Paris) and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (London). After obtaining Le Grand Diplôme® (Le Cordon Bleu) in 2006 I completed my training with the ‘Leiths Three Therm Diploma in Food and Wine’ at the London Leiths School of Food and Wine Limited. I landed my first position as Pastry Chef at the Xoko bakery in Stockholm (Sweden). I then went back to London to work for the Ottolenghi bakery and Cake4Fun. This is where I perfected my knowledge in cake design, wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and gâteaux d'anniversaire and sugar paste ornaments.
EJ Baking Studio & Bakery Café opened in 2012. It is both a tea parlour and a boutique where one can enjoy European-inspired pastries and get actual training. Nowadays, my everyday life is divided between creating pastries, teaching classes to professionals and consultancy.
- You live in South Korea. What are the market’s characteristics ?
- Social medias are ubiquitous in Korea. People share information and visuals very easily as much as they do with their personal tastes and feelings. A bakery can propel you at the forefront as much as a small mistake can create a permanent mark on your career. The market is hypersensitive.
With the economic crisis, consumers look for more creativity: I believe this is why visuals are so primordial.
Nonetheless, Korea does not forego healthy eating and dieting. Korean consumers are more and more careful with ingredients and their level of requirement is ever growing.
- How would you qualify tradition and trends in your approach to baking ?
- French bakery is famous all around the world. It has been a relentless source of inspiration for me. I have become attached to a kind of baking that blends technique and tradition. As such, I strive in teaching the French pastry classics.
- How do you manage to reconcile taste and visual appeal in your creations?
- Visual is essential to the extent that it is the basis for the customers’ general impression of the product. Consumers’ expectations when it comes to food – aroma, flavouring, quality – are often defined by that first impression. They play a key role in the buying process. I therefore work on visual aspects around several concepts such as simplicity or eccentricity.
- How do your masterclasses work?
- Our masterclasses are either dedicated to a cake (Pro Macaroon, Pro Éclair, Pro Gateaux, Genoise Cake class...) or a technique (turning, icing,...). Each class have theoretical and technical modules with the latter explaining specific terms. Afterwards, we cover how to master temperature, ingredients and analyse difficulties… We also feature a complete 16-weeks training called ‘Pastry Master Class’.
- Do you admire one Chef in particular?
- Patrick Roger, who elevated chocolate processing to an art. His creations unite flavour and aesthetic in a perfect equilibrium.
- What are you favourite Elle & Vire Professionnel products?
- The 82% MG Gourmet Butter and the 84% MG extra dry butter are the two I use the most on a day-to-day basis. Aside from their technical quality, I love their delicious fresh butter taster that brings an unrivalled flavour to recipes!
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