Meet Sébastien Bernis

1997-1998: acquired his professional pastry-making qualification in Souillac, France
2001-2003: worked at the Hôtel de Crillon alongside Christophe Felder and Camille Lesecq
2007: obtained his first Executive Pastry Chef position, at the Sonesta Hotel (Egypt)
2012: was appointed Executive Pastry Chef at the Mandarin Oriental in Macau
2017: created his signature elderflower patisserie

Executive Pastry Chef at Macau’s Mandarin Oriental since 2012, Chef Sébastien Bernis earned his stripes in the finest French establishments before pursuing his career abroad. A meeting with a chef who cultivates a highly free and personal approach to patisserie.
You have travelled a lot. Tell us about your career so far!
I acquired my professional pastry-making qualification in Souillac (Lot), in 1998. After my military service, I spent six months in the UK before returning to France to perfect my training in Michelin-starred establishments Grand Véfour and Hôtel de Crillon. In 2003, with my desire to go abroad, I was put in contact with an establishment in the Caribbean. I then returned to France before going off again to work in Polynesia, the Sultanate of Oman, Egypt… I spent almost two years with the Maia Luxury Resort and Spa in the Seychelles before leaving for the Maldives and the One & Only Reethi Rah in 2010, where I stayed until 2012. Since then, I have been with the Mandarin Oriental, as Executive Pastry Chef. This Group, which has patisserie boutiques in all its hotels, is one I have wanted to join for a long time.
I was quick to go abroad because travelling is something I have always wanted to do. My interna-tional experiences have given me great freedom, "unbridling" my view of patisserie. The great en-counters and discovery of other cultures are really enriching! Going abroad is about experiencing something different, about sharing flavours and know-how with people who do not necessarily have a culture of patisserie. In Macau, there is a real enthusiasm for French patisserie, and that is moti-vating! As French pastry chefs, we are ambassadors. Through our work we try to give people the desire to visit France and we have a real role to play in promoting French patisserie.
What is your signature patisserie?
One that I created in 2017, after being really taken with an elderflower cocktail that I discovered in a bar. The delicate flavours took me by surprise and made me want to use it in my work. This patis-serie, which was originally meant to be temporary, has been on the menu for a year now. The decorative elements (flowers, leaves) that I have incorporated are evocative of elderflower.
What are the current patisserie trends in Macau?
The visual aspect had for a long time taken precedence. The primary consideration for buyers would be looks, followed by taste. A trend which is now evening out: to appeal to consumers, a cake needs to both look and taste good!
How do you feel about the new modes of consumption? How do they influence your crea-tions?
The new modes of consumption play a role in the visual aspect and the consideration of the new expectations of consumers, who want less sugar, less fat, gluten-free… We need to be able to move with the changes because our tastes as chefs and those of our clients are not the same.
For my part, I continue to make the pastries that I love. Given the real culture of sharing that exists here, we offer a large choice of cakes to share alongside our individual patisseries. As the visual aspect remains very important, and all the more so with the advent of social media, we are particu-larly attentive to detail and decoration.
Could you describe a typical day for you as Executive Pastry Chef at the Mandarin Oriental?
At 7 a.m., I help my morning team finalise the decorations of the patisseries for the boutique and check the buffet set-up, followed by that of the boutique with the help of the sales staff. I then or-ganise the work of the various teams (restaurant, functions, boutique, afternoon tea). A large part of my day is devoted to meetings, training new recruits, devising recipes and preparing for visits by VIPs.
What is your relationship with Elle & Vire Professionnel®? What are the products that you cannot live without?
I have always used Elle & Vire Professionnel® products, and all the more so since I have been abroad. My must-haves include the Excellence Whipping Cream, the Cream Cheese, the Sublime, cream with Mascarpone, the Extra Dry Butter… The consistent quality of the products, the renown conferred by French excellence, all mean that it is our duty as French chefs to spread the word about this brand and its strong values to our clients and colleagues.

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