With a familiar tradition dedicated above all to bread and small pastries making, Jordi Bordas Santacreu decided, a long time ago, to focus his career on patisserie, without leaving outside all what influenced his childhood and youth. Indeed, he goes on baking bread as well as cakes and other sweets in the place where his grandparents lived, in Viladecans (
), though he is
today recognised as one of the best pastry chefs in the world. Barcelona
When he was 15, Jordi began to study in the Gremi de Pastissers in
Barcelona, carrying on with one
year study in the . Then, he specialized
in chocolate with several courses in Europe, as in Chocovic in Sant Just Desvern ( Baking
or in Valrhona School
where he worked and studied with Yann Dutch. To complete this large training,
Jordi carried out several internships in the French Britain. France
In 2011, he became, together with Josep María Rodríguez and Julien ÁlvarezPatisserie World Champion.
Even though he is very busy, last July Jordi Bordas kindly welcomed us in his bakery, where we wad the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his past, present and future.
Why did you want to take part in the World Cup in 2009?
“Everything began in
, I was
19 years old when I went for the first time. A few years later, I went back and
there, through Yann, I met another Spanish guy from Viladecans, who is getting
prepared for the Championship 2005”, Jordi tells us, and he began to help
the competitor with the ice figure (one of the championship proofs). At that
moment, Jordi works every day preparing cakes and two afternoons per week, he
trains with ice figures. Britain
“The Technifira 2009, in Vilafranca
Penedès, was the first competition I took part in and I managed to pass the
first phase”, he says, “after that I
took part in the ,
the Ice-Cream World Cup. From 2007 until 2011,
I was only thinking about competitions”. Rimini
After the 2009 results, in which mood did you find yourself to participate again in 2011?
How did you find the new team? Was it easy to convince them?
“I couldn’t understand why
have a team that could get a good result and make a good representation. I knew
where we had failed, so the team had to be organized again and we had to work
in a very professional way””. Spain
So, after receiving a new call from the Club of the World Cup, and with the help of his sister, Montse Bordas, psychologist with experience in selecting people, Jordi suggests 7 candidates to take part in the World Cup 2011. Two people are chosen from their profiles. One of them will give up the project as he did not fit in the team strategy, resulting in the end in a team made up of Jordi Bordas, Josep María Rodríguez and Julien Álvarez. “We had to work a lot for a long time, days off, weekends,…”, he explains, “the organization is something essential, but to work with people with different disciplines as for example design, pastry-making, architecture, sculpture,… enriches everything and also the final result”.
“The big difference between an occasion and the other one has been the organization and the fact that we set a goal and went towards it in a strong way, besides making a team”.
To the question are you thinking in participating again one day?, Jordi’s answer is clear: “No, this is finished. There are other challenges coming, challenges of another kind with different effects, with an adrenaline similar to the one of the competitions, with time delays and a team. Sometimes it is difficult”, he admits, “but it is very funny, every day is different and shows new challenges”.
For the pastry chef of Viladecans, the fact that he was part of a “clan”, of a team in which everyone feels identified and has a special role is fundamental: “The day I won the World Cup was the happiest day of my life because we got something as a team”.
We know that Josep María Rodríguez has opened his shop in
are you thinking in doing something similar? Barcelona
“We are in a new project that goes in another direction and that has nothing to do with having a shop in
the World Champion comments. “It deals
with stressing the experience we have to help people the better we can”. For
the moment, Jordi cannot tell us much more but we will have more news soon. Barcelona
In Crear Para Endulzar / Sweetening Your Life, we love the presentation of Jordi’s creations. As a result, we have also asked him about this. The pastry chef has decided to manufacture himself his molds, so that he gets the result he wants. He comments us that before anything, he makes a first design of the mold in chocolate, mud or plasticine, even if sometimes, he chooses a 3D design (the piece is designed by the computer and then is manufactured in methacrylate). After, he does the pre-mold, then a mold, followed by a definitive mold in epoxy resin and finally the definitive production.
"Cocoa Beans" Molds
"Lollipop" dessert Molds
"Yuzu à l'Aube" and "Yuzu" desserts Molds
You also prepare all the typical sweets (cocas, turron,…) but you also create many sweets Spanish public is not accustomed to. How new formulas and the presentation you give to the cakes come to your mind?
“Thanks to daily life”. Jordi tells us that he does not consider himself very creative. He generally Works first “with flavors: sometimes it comes through flavours and sometimes through the shape”.
And he gives a few examples: “the Lollipop was like cherry-lollipop, lollipop-cherry: how could we make a cake like a lollipop, and you see that there is something that could be accepted by the consumers being different?”, he wondered. He did not stop thinking in it until he connected to the internet, typed the word “lollipop” searching for images and discovered that what most appeared was like an infinite circular shape. However work did not finish here: “after you have to reinterpret it to translate it into our style that is purity, simplicity and the less the better”. After Once you have the main idea, you have to go on working on the dessert to adjust it and to match flavors and textures.
In this case, Jordi Bordas’ team works with cherry and almond because “they have a very similar taste and they complement each other very well”. The name given to the cake is also very important to attract customers, “sometimes it is difficult to transmit all through the words and the presentation”. The, the pastry chef confesses us that the Lollipop case has been very special: “we created it in 2013 for the website, and then we put it here, in Santacreu just to try, but personally I had it in the last place as I thought this cake could not be sold because it is so bare, and in fact it is one of the products which best works as it is very cool and it reminds childhood”.
In his creations, the Catalonian man prefers the simple and bare lines, so that they may become forever actual things. “To add and add things is very easy”, he says, “but to make simple things that carry an idea is very complicated. I do not want to do something just to do it, I want to do things that make sense and live on. I would like to look photos within 20 years and to feel proud”. In fact, Jordi Bordas is a great admirer of the German architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe.
In his designs, he admires the everlasting present: “I find incredible that a guy could have the view, 100 years ago, to design things that today are still contemporary, and that within 300 years, will still be contemporary… it is fascinating, it gives me goose bumps”, he says, and adds: “when you visit the house he designed in Montjuic for the Universal Exhibition, you think that these designs are presently used in the buildings. It holds me spellbound and inspires me a lot”. And from this inspiration was born the Day Bed turron, created after a visit in that house, where Jordi paid special attention to a chaise-longue: “it is like a sofa, very simple, very bare, but time will pass and it will stay be contemporary”.
Coming back to the cakes creation, Jordi gives us a second example, the Creole Cigar (Puro Criollo), a chocolate mousse with the shape of a cocoa bean. “I got the idea after a trip to
went to cocoa trees plantations and there we saw that there were also banana
trees, coconut palms,… around. The cocoa seeds are born and grow among other
fruits and products”. As a consequence, he got the idea of making a cake
with the shape of a cocoa bean, but through which this trip to Colombia and
the visit to the plantation, where one not only discovers the cocoa trees but
also everything that is around, could be reinterpreted. “We came back here and started to make tests and prepare the recipe. The
idea was to create a dessert with the shape of the cocoa bean but also adding
all the flavors that are around”, he explains, “the sweet was born from that point, making a test, adjusting the
formulas… normally we take three months in finalizing a dessert. Moreover, after, we retouch a few things in the récipes that we do not
like”. In this creation we
can find again Jordi’s motto about simplicity: “the mínimum that can have the highest impact, everything on and in the
cake must have a sense”. Colombia
He also tells us that when he creates a dessert, he has to look after the reasonable production, that is to say making something that is repeatable.
Can you tell us a bit more about your passion for the Yuzu: how did you discover it?
“It was during a trip. I went to visit one of my best friends, Franck Fresson, in my opinion the best pastry chef in France by far, the only problem is that he is not in Paris and as a result, does not have the impact he would have if he were there. I knew this man in a strange way. I went to make a caramel course with Stéphane Klein. With Verónica, my wife, we use to follow a route of pastry chefs in
and in parallel we visit the
country. I spoke with Stéphane so that he could recommend a pastry chef to
visit, he called Franck and we could go and talk to him. Once there, Franck
offered me a top with hazelnut and yuzu he makes. It tasted of glory. I asked him where did that come from. Apart from that, I
already liked France
and the Japanese culture. Travelling to Japan was a pending matter for me.
I discovered the product thanks to him but, at that moment, there was nothing
A few months later, Jordi Bordas’ team began to work with
people to go to the Ice Cream World Cup
and Jordi talked to them about yuzu, proposing to use it for the ice cream.
They tried to bring the product directly from Rimini Japan
but it was stopped by customs. So Jordi decided to call his friend Franck to
ask him if he had some yuzu to be able to take part in the competition. The
French pastry chef sent 3 bottles, with which they could train and participate
in the World Cup. “It has been thanks to
him and his yuzu”. Spain
Nevertheless, Jordi would not give up. He wanted to be able to get yuzu. He contacted an importer of Japanese products, specialized in this citrus fruit. He bought through internet and twenty minutes later, Olivier, the importer, phoned him. He sent a few samples to Jordi, who began to work making tests.
In 2012, Olivier proposes Jordi to take part in an event he created, for the tsunami victims. He prepares a gala dinner with Japanese cooks and Jordi Bordas’ team is charge of the dessert. One requirement: they have to have yuzu. And it was how the idea of the “yuzu” dessert was born.
Later, Jordi went to
to see the plantations and
make a demonstration so that people could see all that can be done with their
product. “A few months ago, with the cook
Jordi Cruz, we also made a blend with yuzu: he was in charge of the cuisine and
we were in charge of the desserts”. Japan
Still surprised by how everything occurred, Jordi notes: “doing something in a particular moment may mark your life forever, though the good and the bad, a decision you make today may leave a mark for the rest of your existence”.
As a result of your first prize in the World Cup 2011, you have decided to turn your thoughts to the coaching: what does coaching bring you?, what do you like in it?
“To be able to get a more holistic, more complete vision of what we do. At present we are focusing on several projects as a team, in which everyone has a specialty: Marta designs, Montse is a psychologist, Joan makes the website, I am a pastry chef,… All this makes our proposal is more complete than if it only had one point of view. Normally the problem we find is the team managing and this is from where we began. All this makes us very strong in our job and encourages us to go on. Moreover, there is our 2009 experience, when we lost the World Cup and our 2011, when we won it. At that moment, we saw a huge difference: to manage the failure and to convert it into success”.
Jordi also confesses us that Montse, his sister, is one of his mentors and thanks to her, he is now doing things that he would have not thought about only 4 years ago, and he is now making decisions that were unimaginable to him before. “Montse brings a lot with her psychology knowledge and her team analysis. Being with her, side by side, learning and uplifting in a professional way, not only in patisserie but also in psychology, design,… I have evolved a lot as a professional, not better, not worse, just different”.
Before finalizing, Jordi Bordas thinks over the patisserie world today, above all in
“unfortunately, patisserie today is poorly
valued and recognized because the big industries have incorporated products that
are not as pure as they should, with a suspicious origin. Patisserie has
twisted a lot. To prepare something as simple as a top of vanilla with
chocolate, with good products, can turn out to be today the most delicious
thing in the world, maybe not because we have done a very good job, but
certainly because the other ones have done a very bad one. The way to do things
in a good manner has spoiled. My parents instilled in us, to my brothers,
sisters and to me, that we should do things right, in a professional way, to
work from love and passion, respect people, because we are doing something that
somebody will eat and that will have a direct effect on his or her health. Because
of that we are very purist in selecting our raw material, the people,
Referring to new projects, they have many but for the moment, they cannot tell us too much, only the fact that we have to be attentive on October because Jordi will show with his team a New Concept of Patisserie that means transmitting series of values in this world.
Interview and Article by Karo