PATISERUL ION CRIHAN - ARTIZANII GUSTULUI. EP 6
This show is supported by METRO, the trusted partner of your beloved places. When eating a dessert you must taste the ingredients. The butter, yolk, milk.
When eating a dessert you must remember your childhood a bit. Pastry is about science and chemistry. There is no place for improvisation. You need to have technique and good knowledge of the raw products and ingredients used. Ion Crihan sent me his CV.
You have no idea how impressive it was. There were Italian restaurants, Michelin stars ... I've always been drawn to my home country. Being 16 years old, I couldn't just tell my parents: "Goodbye, I'm going to live in Moldova." He had the courage to come back to Moldova and make a change.
At least he wanted to do so. The Artisans of Taste I'm not the kind of chef who cooks out of passion and with emotion. ION CRIHAN, pastry chef For me, it's about timing, weighing, it's about technique, about the temperature, therefore being very, very precise. I always tell my friends that I don't cook too bad. Something like that. It's somehow very emblematic. I could never cook something bland and not tasty.
Even in the worst case scenario it turns out to be good. He believes in himself and in his strengths. SANDU SCOBIOALĂ, TV presenter, friend It's a healthy confidence. He is not smug in any way but he knows what he's doing and no one can contradict him. I am a baker, a pastry chef, but confections require special attention.
Attention to details, temperature, humidity. It's very important in order to get excellent results. When eating a dessert you need to taste all of the ingredients. The butter, yolk, milk ...
When eating a dessert you must remember your childhood and your grandmother who wished you the best with her low-sugar treats. We try to use as little sugar as possible in our desserts. This is a firm policy of ours because from a chemical point of view it doesn't bring anything good to the body from a gustatory point of view … If we're making a strawberry dessert why cover the flavor with sugar? Sugar is a taste enhancer and if we exaggerate with the sugar quantity the sweetness in our mouth will prevail over the strawberry aroma and you will not be able to taste the fruit. When making desserts in a large quantity but with the same quality you'll need a stable product. That's why I opt for frozen fruit pulp, for example or I turn to well known companies who guarantee constant quality. We have to understand that when we buy a cake and we like it, we come back for it and the same quality and taste is expected, otherwise we get disappointed and we don't come back to that place anymore.
That's why I opt for a stable product in sugar, in quality, in taste. What Ion appreciates the most is seriousness. MAX CIORBĂ, director, friend What I perceived from working with him for one day in the kitchen is that no matter how small or big the kitchen is, everyone needs to know their place, and not in a negative way.
Everything works like a machine. The chef stands in front and he is responsible for the final taste. He is supported by each and every member of his team, whether he like's it or not. That's the first most important thing and the second is that if you start something you need to finish it.
My mother cooked all the time, ION CRIHAN, pastry chef then she went abroad and my father stepped in. I don't really remember. And of course my grandmother. I did not cook as a child but I was such a foodie. I enjoyed eating and I think that's where this love for cooking comes from. If you like tasty food but there's none, you find yourself trying to cook it. Five years later I emigrated to Italy, too. For me, Italy was very welcoming. I integrated myself to the maximum.
I learned the language very fast. In three months I was already speaking it. I understood everything. I started to work on the weekends, in the summer while still studying. I started at a pastry shop called Cafe Centrale, located in the center of the city and there I met Cesare who is a good friend of mine now and also my mentor with whom I worked 7-8 years ago.
I met Ion when he was a joyful well-mannered teenager CESARE VERONESI, chef, Ion Crihan's mentor and especially respectful towards me. He left me a positive impression and this aspect was decisive, discovering later that he was also a tireless worker and a reliable colleague, with a hunger for innovation and in a continuous search for perfection. We can say that it was love at first sight from a professional point of view, of course. I entered that pastry shop out of curiosity, to see if they were hiring. Cesare said: "Ok, you can start tomorrow." It was fast.
I remember breaking around 90 eggs. I knocked them down with my elbow and the there were eggs everywhere. I am really thankful, because I was doing pastry but he also taught me how to cook, he taught me cooking theory, chemistry and techniques. The technique is very important, for me at least. Pastry is science and chemistry, there is no room for improvisation. You must have technique and a very good knowledge of all the ingredients used, and their transformation into each recipe.
To all this it's necessary to add continuous research, innovation and sacrifice, but the most important passion and love for one's own work. A mixture of all these ingredients makes a great pastry chef. Being a young cook you can't stay at the same workplace for too long. There's only so much you can learn in one place. You need change, new experiences, new angles and visions.
Every chef has got his own vision and by touring their kitchens you steal secrets from here and there and in the end you form your own vision. I remember the chef telling me: "I have nothing more to teach you, I don't know what to do with you, you already know everything". I left and got a job at another hotel, a luxury one this time. I worked there for 3 years. In my first year there they got one Michelin star
and in the second year they got the second star. We had a big celebration at the hotel, I saw the chef crying. The hotel was Mussolini's residence in Italy and it's a very imposing baroque villa with large oak tables with a very rich atmosphere. I had a Non Disclosure Contract. I couldn't talk about who I saw there or whom I cooked for.
I can talk about it now as many years have passed since then. There were a lot of footballers, for example I saw Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger. It was nice especially with me being a Bayern Munich fan. It's a French style hierarchy starting with the Entremetier who makes pasta and soups with everything related to the first course. Next comes the Poissonier who's responsible for fish dishes. There's the person responsible for the meat dishes and there is the Garde Mange who makes vegetables and does and the entree.
I was helping the Garde Mange preparing entrees. It took me 3 to 4 weeks to reach the next level. Those 2 meters were mine. We picked flowers from the garden and we had access to the freshest ingredients. It was a movie-like atmosphere.
I don't know, there was tension, it was always quiet, you could even hear the flies buzzing. We had to work in total silence and when the chef or sous-chef spoke you had to answer strictly with "Si, chef" or "No, chef" like in the army. The chef read the order twice in a very loud imposing voice tone and everyone had to answer back and you could get punished for not answering back.
Each morning we had to put on a freshly washed and ironed uniform. We all looked impeccable. I had to shave twice daily.
Each morning our chef passed his finger over our cheeks checking for hairs. Everyone who was badly shaved had to go home and shave again then come back and do the job. I carried a shaver in my car.
During the season I was always tired and had a lack of sleep. Six months in a year you had to work 6 days out of 7. If you did your work well you were given one day off, and if you made mistakes then goodbye day off. My brother and his wife used to come over to my parents house and ask: "Where's Ion?" "Ion is sleeping" or "Ion is at work." Sleep, work, sleep, work … and I have no regrets because I have learned a lot and I feel prepared for my field of work. I say it without false modesty.
I've always been drawn to my home country, but being 16 years old I couldn't tell my parents "Goodby, I am going to live in Moldova". I've always wanted to go back. When you have been living in another country for many years, but you still say that home is Moldova…. It means something. I really miss my parents, my brother but here I met my wife and I am very happy. I've got two kids and I'm excited.
I don't regret even for a second that I came back. Regardless of all the flaws and problems Moldova is still a beautiful country that I love. The whole family was against him moving to Moldova, because it was less developed compared to Italy.
ELENA VITU, Ion Crihan's wife He had the courage to return home and make a change here in Moldova or at least he wanted to do so. For about a year, I worked as a freelancer. I reviewed menus, organized some gastronomic dinners … I've worked in various cities, created menus for different places.
After a while I got a proposal from a fairly famous restaurant in the city to manage it together with a friend, Alexandru Comerzan. So we grabbed this project and managed it beautifully, from my point of view. It was a success and I tend to think that we raised the bar for the local gastronomy. Indeed we organized gastronomic dinners ALEXANDRU COMERZAN, chef, former colleague and I think we were the first two chefs in Moldova who had this idea of organizing gastronomic dinners. It was a success.
After a few gastronomic dinners other restaurants from the city started copying us by organizing a lot of these dinners. I believe we were the first two chefs that stood out by doing something different. We were in a pandemic LOREDANA and ION POPARCEA owners of "Mimimi Cakes" and it was quite difficult as our main income source had been cut off. It was tense. I was at home on childcare leave. My baby had just been born. I had no idea what to expect, what to do.
We needed to hire new staff. Compared to others, I think I stayed the most isolated in my house, for 6 months, from March until September. I stayed in my house without going out, maybe to the store or for a walk in the woods somewhere.
I took it quite seriously. In September, though, I said that it was enough. So I sent some CVs out there. Ion came one day and told me: "Look, Ion Crihan has sent me his CV." I knew Ion from the TV. I knew he was a cook on a TV show.
I was quite baffled. "He sent his CV to us? Ion Crihan?" "Yes, and you have no idea how impressive his CV is." Why would he want to work with us? Maybe it sounds strange but I was baffled to see his CV. And the second question was What salary would expect an experienced chef like him? I researched their place, I liked what they were doing. I don't send CVs to random places.
It was the most impressive CV seen by me, ever. It had mentions of Italian restaurants, Michelin stars, some excellent restaurants from Chisinau. I gave him a call. We set up a meeting and the next day he started working with us. We worked as a team with Ion to experiment, choose the flavors ...
That's how a menu is made up. We choose flavors we like, flavors our customers like. Sometimes, no one else likes what I like. The idea was to use an ingredient no one else likes and make it desirable and tasty. I combined it with a foam made of yogurt and honey, added some lavender syrup and marinated ginger.
Milk skin with yogurt and honey foam, lavender and pollen Ion always makes analogies with the desserts in Michelin-starred restaurants. ION POPARCEA, "Mimimi Cakes" owner He says that a Michelin dessert must leave you with a baffling sensation but asking for more. A day before the filming, Ion brought me a dessert made with milk skin filled with a yogurt foam. I tasted it and my first reaction was: "Sorry Ion, but I think this is not for me.
It may be good, but it's too much for me." While he was explaining its composition, lavender and pollen, I ate it all and asked for more. I told him to make another one for Loredana, so she could taste it as well. I said that I am not eating something like this, because I always throw the milk skin out. In the end I did try it, and the taste amazed me. It was creamy, with a bit of sourness in it. It was fresh and you could taste the lavender and the pollen. It's an extraordinary dessert.
Next I made it clear from the start that I was a chef and was extremely busy. In a very subtle and intelligent way he made me accept his schedule. It was definitely a surprise. We were expecting one but got two.
The Artisans of Taste I was on my way to film a report at an orphanage. When I got there I realized that those children had very little and I really wanted to help them somehow. Three days before going back there one of the sponsors withdrew. I started to loudly ask my colleagues for help, because I had been left without gifts for the children. Ion approached me and asked: "Elena, how can I help you?" He was like a prince on a white horse. I gave him the list with the gifts. He asked me to send it via Facebook.
That was the moment that brought us closer. It was a way for us to communicate. I sent him the list and next morning I woke up with this tall, handsome man at my door with a gift in his arms.
I think it was a skateboard, if I remember well. ""What a generous man, I thought. That night we went out for cocktails. It was a long night. We talked till 5 in the morning and realized we were made for each other.
ION CRIHAN, pastry chef I've mentioned from the start that I was a chef and I had a busy schedule. I want to thank her for being comprehensive and not asking to be more present. Now I am more present compared to when I worked as a chef. The day started at 9 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m, six out of seven days a week. I was away quite often. In a subtle yet intelligent way he prepared me for accepting and understanding his work schedule.
"Water and after ..." "Not on the contrary?" "No." "Prepare and bring it me, ok?" "Ok." I have got two children, two boys - Teodor and Matei.
I am very happy and proud. It's a great joy. I have no twins in my family, neither does my wife, no one, not even my great-grandmother. We researched it and we don't really have it in our families. It was a big surprise. We were expecting 1 and got 2. A lot of my colleagues don't have families. They've focused too much on work from my point of view.
But everyone is free to choose, maybe they are successful in other areas and they are happy with the results. I've chosen my own path. I am trying to balance between these two and still learning. I've found good flour. What kind? Spelt flour. Yes, I know. Did it turn out good?
Yes, I've worked with it before. I like it because it lasts long because it's wholemeal and ... You need to start making your own sourdough starter. Yes, but I need someone to teach me. I am not friends with any chef, you know?
I did explain it to you. You didn't teach me to bake bread. I've only called you once about bread. Come to my workplace and I'll give you some sourdough starter. So you have it? Yes. Two or three months ago Ion was at my place and I made some fried eggs. MAX CIORBĂ, director, friend He said it was ok, but not made correctly.
For me it looked well cooked. "Yes, but you added salt on top of the eggs. If you add salt on top of the eggs, it will absorb the water from the egg and it will not turn out right. You have to add salt in the oil." Small details that change your vision. Most products are fake, like eclairs for example.
Custard that doesn't taste like custard, macarons that aren't really macarons. And when the consumer, for example, buys a fake macaron and tastes it for the first time and doesn't understand why he has to pay 15-20 lei for a simple colored biscuit he no longer wants to buy a genuine more expensive product. For a dessert to be delicious it must have at least 2 temperatures, a layer at room temperature and a cold one. It must have something crunchy.
Something sour, something sweet, something to chew on, a crust for example. These are some technical aspects not related to the flavor. You can decide the flavors for each part, either it's chocolate for the crunchy part, basil for the soft part, raspberry for sourness.
Of course you need to analyze first if all the layers and flavors go well together. And in this way you can create a perfect dessert. It's a dessert inspired by my work experience and my work places. It represents different chocolate textures. Everyone likes chocolate.
I tried to express my experience through this dessert by combining different techniques and combined it all in a dessert with one single flavor - chocolate and one contrasting ingredient along with different chocolate textures. The 5 elements of the chocolate Together with Ion, we want to give our customers a restaurant quality dessert that can be taken home. This profession is not made for everyone. It's tough, you have to spend many ours in the kitchen for a good result. A good result for yourself, in the first place.
With some simple ingredients SANDU SCOBIOALĂ, TV presenter, friend he could make something extraordinary. He makes simple things but with mastery. What makes him stand out is the fact he can leave his signature in each recipe he makes no matter where. Every citizen of the Republic of Moldova, or everyone on Earth in general must have this life goal to search for a friend who will also be a chef, because it will bring only positive results. The chef may have nothing to gain from it, but the person will learn little important details. I believe it would be very useful to teach culinary art in school.
We are generally a people rich in traditions. We are welcoming and warm. Moldova means warmth for me. This thing should be valued even at the national level somehow. I don't know how but it should be valued.
I think that through culture through theater, music, through good movies. I think people don't realize how good they are and that they are more soulful compared to the rest of the world. Only when living abroad do you realize this. We are a much warmer people. Our country will get better. It's already better.
The Artisans of Taste