Making pastries, chocolates and desserts for guests at the luxurious St. Regis in Monarch Bay still gets Chef Frederic’s creative juices flowing.
MONARCH BAY, Calif. September, 2012—“I have to eat chocolate every day,” says Pastry Chef Frederic Moreau. He’s in the right place since his pastry shop at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort requires his use of the ingredient. He likes Cocoa Barry, a premium French chocolate brand with Madirofolo, from a plantation in Madagascar and Tanzanie, Tanzania, being his favorite origin flavors. “Tanzanie has a very strong chocolate flavor but very fruity at the same time and Madirofolo is little bit acid. I use it a lot with fruit chocolate combinations.”
His responsibilities include five outlets—the golf course, the Bay Club, Motif, room service and banquets. Moreau makes pastry, desserts, candy and bonbons. During summer he only takes off one day a week and those days easily stretch to eleven. Moreau credits his energy to biking and gets a workout in early, usually before work through the hills around Monarch Beach.
Chef Moreau, a French native, competed in France, the US and internationally and earned medals for his sugar sculptures and plated desserts. After completing pastry school in Paris he began his career in Belgium. Debailleul Patisserie is a high volume, mass production with high quality. “Being freshly out of school with limited knowledge, the first three months were chaotic. I was lost, making mistakes and everybody in that shop hated me for those mistakes. I was not yet 18,” he recalls. Yet even today he uses what he learned there from Chef Philippe Rrheau and Owner Marc Debailleul.
Moreau continued to learn and worked in restaurants in France, Florida, Chicago and Tokyo and southern California.
More from Chef Moreau
What are some of your favorite flavor combinations?
Chocolate/almond/passion fruit, hazelnut/passion, pistachio/raspberry, caramel/apples/pecan.
How are dessert preferences here different from France?
I’ve been fortunate enough to make French desserts pretty much everywhere I worked in US. What I’ve noticed is bigger portions, bright colors and heavier taste. In France it’s the other way around. I must say I do bigger portions here, but no bright colors and I don’t like heavy pastries
What trends do you see in pastries/desserts?
The one I see right now is the cupcake trend, hope that will go away soon. It’s good for people with limited skills so they can make something in their kitchen. But for professionals, besides making money because everybody buys them, I think it’s a step down. What’s the point of spending that much money in pastry school to end up making cupcakes?
A good trend to me is French macarons—small bites, easy to eat, look like a hamburger, crunchy outside and soft inside—like the French.
You don’t know what to expect until you bite into one. They do require some experience and pastry technique.
Tell me a bit about Japan from the time you spent there.
A friend of mine from Paris was opening a French pastry shop in Tokyo and needed a French pastry chef. I’ve always been attracted to Japanese culture and this was an opportunity. I really enjoyed their food, the tradition behind it and the respect they have between each other even for foreigners. Tokyo is a safe city, unfortunately I was there only a year. If one day a job comes along, I might go back.
If you weren’t a pastry chef what would you be?
I’m a big mountain bike fan, I have 4 bikes. I do races when my schedule allows the time and back in france I used to work in a bike shop fixing bikes on my days off. So if was not a chef I would be fixing/riding bikes.
I started biking when I was 15 as I needed transportation to get to work. I got addicted right from the start and became more serious over the years. I added some races the last six years. I usually ride 130-150 miles a week, MTB (off road) and road. When I’m on the bike it’s freedom and pushing my limits. I enjoy being sore from my work out, seeing my heart rate going high, lungs burnt and heavy legs. Also it makes me eat more, so the more I bike the more I eat. We have only one life, so I try to enjoy what I like the most.
What’s coming up on your menu?
The season will tell me, apples and pears so far.
Motif dessert menu
$10 to $12
Peanut ice cream, strawberry salsa, banana cream
-Peanut ice cream, gavotte tuile, Apricot compote
Pistachio ice cream, light crème fraiche mousse, roasted cherries
Almond panacotta, poached peach, vanilla ice cream
Sesame croustillant, frangelico gelee, chocolate ice cream