He’s part pastry chef, part cult leader. Dominique Ansel, the creator of the wildly popular Cronut, is pushing the envelope once again with his latest creation.
It’s the sort of creativity and hype that’s needed for success in the cut-throat food business. CCTV’s Shraysi Tandon reports.
For sugar lovers around the world, Dominique Ansel is a superstar. He set the food world abuzz when he created the Cronut – the half croissant, half doughnut hybrid, voted one of the 25 best inventions in 2013 by Time Magazine.
On most mornings, people from all over the world line up outside Dominique’s bakery in downtown New York. It’s the kind of buzz chefs dream about, but few achieve.
Ansel says competition is stiff. “The food industry is very, very competitive. And you will see in the market, in New York City, over 25,000 restaurants. So in every block, every corner you have competition. Getting people to know what you do, getting them to trust you when it comes to food is very important.”
It’s a tough business and the odds are against most chefs and restaurant owners. According to a study by Ohio State University, 60 percent of restaurants don’t make it past the first year and 80 percent go under in the first five years.
Dominique Ansel: Recipe for SuccessHe's part pastry chef, part cult leader. Dominique Ansel, the creator of the wildly popular Cronut, is pushing the envelope once again with his latest creation.
With so many discerning palates, the food industry is not only cut-throat, it’s also fickle. Ansel says innovation is the key to surviving. “I think creativity is definitely one of the most important ingredients in a recipe for success. Getting customers to your business once is one thing, getting them to come back is different.”
Earlier this year, Ansel created the ‘milk and cookie shot’ – a playful take on the classic American favorite – cookies and milk. He created a shot glass made of chocolate chip cookies. Then warm vanilla infused milk is poured in the middle.
There are more than 6,000 retail bakeries across the U.S. with combined revenue of almost four billion dollars.
Ansel is eager to take a slice of that pie. “My philosophy when it comes to cooking and baking is really to be creative and to be inventive. You always have to push yourself beyond what you know, always think out of the box and most importantly, take care of your customers. Make sure they have a good time when they come to the bakery, good experience and they have good quality products for a fair price.”
Industry experts agree. Earlier this year, the James Beard Foundation, considered the Oscars of the food world, named Ansel America’s top pastry chef. He hopes to build on the sweet smell of success, one creation at a time.