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Of Paris and Pain au Chocolat: Q&A with Ester Labuschagne

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Jan 2020 –

Of Paris and Pain au Chocolat: Q&A with Ester Labuschagne

You may recall that Ester Labuschagne, our Senior Pastry Chef, jetted off to Paris a few months ago to attend the acclaimed confectionary academy, École Ritz Escoffier.

Ester adored her time in Paris and thoroughly enjoyed her course. She is, however, as tickled pink to be back in her beloved kitchen at La Petite Ferme as we are to have her. Ester did us proud as we knew that she would, and she is bursting with inspiration. We caught up with her in between whipping up sweet temptations over a quick cafe au lait and fresh-baked light-as-a-feather pain au choc (Ester’s specialty).

Q: Welcome home, Ester! Tell us, what stood out for you the most during your time at École Ritz Escoffier (aside from the Eiffel Tower)?

A: Thank you so much; there’s no place like home! What made the biggest impression on me was the Parisian people! What a fascinating culture it is. We learnt all about their exciting way of life and gained insight as to how things work in Europe. We visited Versailles and Marie Antoinette’s estate for a day. I was thrilled by it all.

Q: If you had to compare your experience to a culinary dish, what would it be?

A: My time at the Ecole was a very refined and richly layered experience. A bit like some of the cakes we learnt to bake which I now serve here at La Petite Ferme. You should stay a bit longer and try them all!

Q: What was the style of training at the school?

A: At Ecole Ritz Escoffier, they are a good team and work through the course material at a steady pace in small groups. We had two masterclasses during the time from chefs that came in to share their expertise; they were terrific, imparting their knowledge and skills garnered over many years of working in this industry. They also had great translators who helped us all a great deal.

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Q: It sounds like it was coming up (fondant) roses. Was there any moment that wasn’t all ‘just peachy’?

A: I treasure the experience and opportunity. Being away was a bit tough at times. I missed sunny South Africa and everything we have here. As I said, there’s no place like home.

Q: What recipe did you fancy you perfected over there? Could you share it with us?

A: Why, pain au choc, of course! We bake it here often, and there’s nothing more inviting for our guests at La Petite Ferme in the morning than the aroma of freshly baked pain au choc and fresh-brewed French press coffee. Speaking of which, how’s yours?

To experience Ester’s exquisite confectionary first-hand book a table online or contact us to book secure a spoiling overnight stay for yourself and your loved ones at La Petite Ferme. We look forward to welcoming you!