People

Ricardo Rosas

Pastry Chef Ricardo Rosas enjoys watching person after person coming into Faubourg Paris to secure one of his domed lemon tarts. This ‘rich, smooth and tangy’ lemon curd – which sits atop vanilla milk foam in a flaky tart shell – is one of their best-sellers. The lemon tart is also one of the original pastries that Rosas created when Faubourg opened its first location in Kerrisdale, 2010. “I have an affinity towards that one.”

As Rosas initially experimented with lemon tart recipes, he knew that he didn’t want to make “your typical whipped egg white with a torched meringue. So, I flipped it, made the foam out of whipping milk, flavoured it with vanilla and placed it underneath in the shell.” Rosas was also thoughtful in placing pearl sugar on the edge around the top. The sugar crystals bring a crunch; they also help the tart to appeal to a broader range of palates. “People’s taste buds are adjusted to different levels of salt, sweet, tangy. The sugar is not only a decorative element, it helps to add some extra sweetness to those who want it, but is also easily avoided by those who don’t.”

lemon tart

As Head Pastry Chef at Faubourg, Rosas is often dreaming up new recipes for the test kitchen. “Oh yea, there are things that end up in the garbage. You have your idea, but it may not actually work when you try it out. You go back to square one.” In his job as pastry boss, Rosas must balance artful deliciousness with practicality. “It might taste incredible, but if it takes endless hours of labour time or it is too expensive, then it doesn’t make sense on the business side.”

The Tri Chocolate Decadent is another Rosas favourite that made it through the test kitchen into the eager grip of customers. “I love my Tri Decadent. It’s a chocolate sablé on the bottom. Then, you have a baked chocolate cremeux on top. It’s a 70% that I use, so it’s nice and bittersweet. On top of that is the caramelia – it is a nice milk chocolate that has undertones of caramel.” The third topping is a dulcey mousse. “It is a white chocolate that has undergone a caramelization process. It tastes almondy. And on top of that, I add a crispy tuile that is half-dipped in chocolate and decorated.”

Unlike the stalwart lemon tart, Rosas has played with the ingredients in the Tri Chocolate Decadent. The base used to be hazelnut; the architecture was different. “I had that one for two and half, three years, but eventually creativity sets in and you want to change things around.”

Tri- Chocolate smaller

Rosas started experimenting in the kitchen when he was a child in Mexico City then North Vancouver. He used to adore baking with his Mum and his Grandma, who were Mexico-born and Germany-raised. “They made all the German cookies, the stollen, the cakes. I had an affinity and an ease for baking when I was a child – a passion for it.”

By the time he got to university, however, Rosas decided on a Bachelors in Commerce with a major in hotel and restaurant management. He worked in the industry for a few years after graduating, but was feeling unmotivated. “I’m a passion-forward person. If I’m just going through the motions, I lose interest quite quickly.”

Knowing that he was artistic at the core, Rosas went to Vancouver Film School and dabbled in acting. But, he was 30 years old, working as a server and running off to auditions at a moment’s notice. He got some work, but “the chances of landing a role in that industry are very slim. I didn’t have the patience to see what might happen with that. I needed consistency and stability.”

As he thought about his career future, Rosas kept harkening back to his youthful baking interests. “If you think about what excited you as a child, it might be the same when you are an adult.” He enrolled in the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, where he earned his baking and pastry diploma. Whilst still in school, he got a job working as a pastry chef in the kitchen of Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne, when it was still open. “I worked like a dog for three months, finishing school and working there.”

Soon after graduating, Rosas saw an ad for Faubourg, met owner Franck Point and knew he had found a great fit. “He entrusted me with being able to put my own stamp on things, to make it my own. We’ve grown quite quickly, opening a new location each year. It keeps me on my toes!”

Mille Feuille

As Head Pastry Chef, Rosas oversees the pastry vision for all three locations – Kerrisdale, Hornby and West Van – and up to 5 pastry cooks at the commissary kitchen. “Right now, we’re getting ready for Valentine’s Day – pastries, pastries, pastries. We always do a feature item for each holiday. We have heart-shaped macarons filled with fresh raspberries and cream – those sell like hotcakes. This year, we’ll have another dessert: a Passion Delight.”

Rosas likes to stay plugged into the chef community. “We all take inspiration from each other. The open sharing that chefs have is well known. We don’t want to copy each other. It’s like the broken telephone thing. You start with one thing, another chef will take it, change it and so on.”

He encourages his Faubourg chefs to create pastry ideas to put in the running for Pastry of the Month. “Last year, Jordan did this beautiful chocolate dessert with layered, tempered thin sheets of chocolate which were cut into squares with mousse piped in between, all on a brownie base. The Chocolate Decadence – it was delicious. Next month it will be Connor’s strawberries and cream cake. She has a walnut sponge and a vanilla diplomat cream with fresh strawberry layers and a strawberry glaze.”

When he was young, Rosas used to watch chefs like Julia Child and Jacques Pépin on TV. When he heard about Pierre Hermé – “the Father of the Macaron” – he spent hours looking at pictures of his work. These days, he is wowed by France’s Christophe Michalak, Chef Pâtissier. “If you google him and see the things that this man does, you have to wonder how that it is to be eaten. The creativity this man has, the pure technique is unbelievable. I just want to look at it and put it up in the house for decoration.”

Rosas on CTV 

on the news

When Rosas can sneak in the time, he also enjoys watching cooking shows. “I’m addicted to Food Network, shows like Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped Canada, Beat Bobby Flay. On Top Chef, they had this one episode- Sweet Genius – that was based on dessert. My Chef Instructor – Bruno Feldeisen – was on that one. He is a wonderfully, wonderfully talented man. He’s now the Executive Pastry Chef at the Four Seasons.”

Over the next few months, Rosas is hoping to head to Paris for some Master Series training or to the Culinary Institute of America in New York. “Chefs need to evolve. We can’t be stagnant.” Then, it will be back to his Faubourg pastry creations and the busy life of a chef in Vancouver’s “incredibly diverse food scene.”

 

Written by Elizabeth Newton
www.creatorsvancouver.com

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Photos courtesy of Faubourg

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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton