INTERVIEW WITH CELEBRITY CHEF JAY
By Editorial Team
Manhattan’s Upper West Side recently welcomed ‘Recolte’, a new Taiwanese-French bakery that is fast becoming the “it” bakery in NYC. Located on Amsterdam Ave. and 73rd St., Recolte features fresh-baked (every day) breads, muffins, cookies and other delectable baked goodies. Recolte will definitely take your bakery experience to the next level.
Reolte’s baking director, “Chef Jay“, won the silver medal at the World Bakery Cup in Paris with the team from Taiwan in 2016, and also the silver medal winner in 2013’s Mondial du Pain (World of Bread Contest). He is also a candidate at the prestigious 2018 Masters de la Boulangerie (Bread Master Competition). Chef Jay has made this Taiwanese-French bakery Manhattan’s newest addition to the list of New Yorker’s favorite bakeries. The reviews continue to come in…”Recolte is flawless!” Recolte is located at 300 Amsterdam Ave. 646.928.0116 Visit their website at: www.therecolte.com.
Here is Asian Fusion exclusive interview with Recolte.
How did you become Recolte’s pastry chef?
I was introduced to Allen, one of the partner/founder of Kung Fu Tea in 2015, who is seeking to expand their business to bakery and I also want to try my skill set to understand if my style would be accepted by western world so I gladly accept their invitation to visit NYC in 2015. After the visit I feel that I want to challenge myself and have more inspiration outside of Taiwan so I team up with Allen for this new venue in NY.
How did you guys come up with the concept for Recolte?
Recolte is a French word means Harvest or gathering. We want our bakery to become an oasis in this urban jungle where customer can relax and enjoy. We want to provide fresh bread made from premium ingredient that all our customer would have a big smile once they enjoy our bread.
How did you come to choose this location on the Upper West Side?
We like UWS because its diversity and also the neighborhood is not too crowded with good balance of business and household mix. Our store is a corner piece which gives us great exposure for potential customers and also have sufficient space to accommodate our need for kitchen and customer area.
How did the selections of pastries evolve to become your menu?
I used to work with Japanese chef and admire with their concept of using seasonal ingredient in their cuisine. I use the same concept here in Recolte and want our customer to enjoy the freshness of the season. I also made some twist to traditional style bread by adding some special ingredient or difference shape or texture to give our customer a different experience even when they buy a traditional bread.
What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?
Yeast is the most important ingredient in our bakery as we grow our own yeast here at Recolte. We have to cultivate these little one to make sure they provide the flavor when we mixed with the dough to make our bread.
How did it feel to win your recent baking competition?
It was a great honor to be able to win the 2nd place in an international competition like this. It is an award that couldn’t win without team work. I thank my team member and also proud to be able to represent Taiwan to win the title and let the rest of the world know that Taiwanese can also make great bread like European.
Which skills do you feel you have that contribute to your success?
Dedication, the spirit of self-motivation and a bit of the luck I guess.
What prompted your interest in pastry?
My dad owns a bakery shop in the countryside of Taiwan so when I was little I also fascinated by the transformation of dough to bread. Get used to wake up by the smell of baking and start to try to make my own bread when I was in the elementary school. I feel like spirit of bread is in my blood.
Do you have a baking philosophy?
Yes. It is pretty simple. Using premium and fresh ingredient and try to create something new to surprise the customer.
Any tips you can share for newbie pastry chefs?
Discipline and dedication is the key. Try to be sensitive and observe the rest of the world so you can get more inspiration.
How does your Asian background influence your baking?
With the accessibility to abundance variety of ingredients in Taiwan, I am able to try many different ingredients in my creating practice. I like to use local and fresh ingredients in my product which can present the best flavor to customers.
How does it feel now that you are a business owner in addition to being a chef?
It is very different as I need to know and in charge of things outside of kitchen too. Fortunately, I have a great business partner who is very experienced so I feel comfortable and can learn from each other.
Can you share more information with us regarding your latest introductions, which we saw on Recolte’s Facebook page, White Valentine, Hazelnuts Nutella and Matcha Vibe?
This is a twist to traditional croissant as we want customer to be able to have a different taste of some popular ingredients (strawberry, lemon, chocolate and matcha) and also the texture is different since have both the icing and filling. Customer get to try two textures and two flavor in one traditional bread.
Additionally, with the holidays upon us, will there be any special holiday additions coming to Recolte’s menu?
For holiday season, we have prepared traditional Panettone which is a traditional Italian holiday bread that is good for holiday gathering and sharing. Our Panettone have special fruit stuffing with 72 hours fermentation process to make sure it has the best flavor for our customer. It will only available till the end of December.
So what’s next for Recolte bakery?
We want to establish our store and brand first to let more New Yorkers know us. We will continue update our menu and product to make sure our customers enjoy the best quality and most flavorful baked item. We also have an invitation to introduce our brand in LA which we will go check it out in early 2018 and hopefully soon west coast would be able to enjoy our brad as well.