A sweet encounter with Karim Bourgi
Born in Senegal to Lebanese parents, Karim Bourgi graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2000 and trained in the finest establishments in France. As a member of Les Toques Blanches du Monde, the International Cheese Guild and brand ambassador of Elle & Vire, Valrhona and Carpigiani, the pastry chef talks to us about his delicious creations and plans for the future.
What is your earliest memory of food?
At 6 years old when I first saw the Chantilly cream. It’s still engraved in my memory, and to this day, I cannot forget this moment. It was one of my favorite treat when I started eating sugar.
What is your signature dish? And what do people love about it?
I actually don’t have a signature dish. I am specialized in chocolate; I use it in all my creations. I have a dessert that is called The KAYU Signature and that I sell in my KAYU pastry shop, it’s one of our bestsellers made from three layers of chocolate: milk, dark and praline noisettes.
Can you share any culinary secrets with our home bakers?
There are no secrets in our domain. It’s basically all about using premium ingredients, preparing it with love, and practicing a lot. If you want to do something and you want it to be perfect, you need to do it repeatedly to master it to perfection and use premium ingredients. You also need to be generous, happy, and passionate about it.
How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?
I always go with a simple process, but very efficient in terms of taste. So I would say in French: Simple et Efficace (simple and efficient).
What is the secret of a successful chef?
First of all he needs to love what he is doing. He needs to put his heart in what he is doing. He needs to forget the long hours, hard work, he needs to be passionate, and motivated. Wake up every day with new ideas, implement them, practice a lot to be successful in the future.
What are your upcoming plans?
I’m opening KAYU Bakehouse in KSA and a coffee shop in Riyadh named tentatively Splash. I am also opening Pikado in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, by end of this year. We are set to open in London next year. I am also doing a bit of consultancy work. For 2022, I chose to only schedule 10 masterclasses versus fifty or sixty masterclasses before. I have an ongoing consultancy deal with Hermes; I have been working with them for eight years, so I am opening Hermes next month in Doha Qatar, and one in Kuwait, and two in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi. I am opening for Hermes owner an Armani Café in Doha end of this year also, as a consultancy.