February 2019 Featured Chef: Romain Dufour

Clement Design® is known around the globe in the chef industry. We not only take pride in providing premium quality chef jackets, but also in the chefs who wear our amazing brand. From outfitting executive & pastry chefs to high-end restaurants, resorts & clubs nationwide, we love to see success stories from our Clement Design USA chefs and businesses.

Romain Dufour knew from an early age that he wanted to be a baker. He was inspired by his uncle who owned his own bakery in a small town near Bourges, France and where Romain apprenticed for 2 years.

He knew that it could be back breaking with long hours, rising in the dark well before dawn. But the sweet aromas and the kinship of working together to create delicious pleasures had been born.

Soon Romain’s imagination and drive led him out of this small town. He wanted to take on the new challenge of baking for hotels, the opportunity for travel and to continue to learn as much as possible.

Romain attended the Ecole de Boulangerie et de Patisserie de Paris, earning two diplomas in four years. For his second diploma, Romain was hired at the renowned Plaza Athenee Hotel in Paris, under the direction of Christophe Michalak, World Champion of Pastry.

This experience is what honed Romain's sense of rigor, his creativity, and his attention to detail.

After two years at the Plaza Athenee Hotel, Romain wanted to travel and see the world. He decided to leave Paris and headed to Dubai, United Arab Emirates where he worked for 6 years. He was initially hired as the head baker for a start-up French bakery before being recruited to the Intercontinental Hotel where he was Head Baker for three years.

When the opportunity to learn a different facet of baking production arose, Romain took the opportunity and became Executive Head Baker for Bateel, a fine craft bakery. Here he was exposed to different artisan products and processes on a higher scale.

Finally, in 2016, Romain arrived in Chicago, as the R&D Master Baker for Problend-Eurogerm, a French/American company specializing in dough conditioners, bread mixes, and pastry mixes.

In this role, Romain brings together his high-end baker training, extensive production experience, and innate creativity to develop new, clean label recipes for an impressive list of notable clients within the dynamic food industry. 

Aside from taking the time to answer some great questions about himself and Clement Design Chef Apparel, Romain Dufour has been working with us and Technobake recently; baking in customized Panibois wooden baking molds.

Q1: As someone who has traveled and baked all over the world for various hotels and bakeries we’d love to hear about some of your favorite memories and experiences!

A: Well, as you know I’am a French baker and in France we have a certain expectation of bread and how it “suppose to look like”.

I've however learned that the French bread is not necessary the best bread in the world but still a very good bread! I think with all my experience I learn that the best bread in the world is the bread that people like to eat wherever you are.

It might be with a thick crust and very sour like in San Francisco, pretty flat and soft with a yogurt taste like in middle east or soft and sweet like in Midwest in the USA. To resume, I've learned how to better understand the need of people who consume my products.

Q2: Aside from baking, what other hobbies do you have that you enjoy and how often are you able to get out and enjoy them? Do you still wake up before dawn to get started on the work day?

A: I’m a big Muscle car Fan. When I was in Dubai, I got the chance of buying a Ford Mustang. It was a boy's dream came true! I’m happy to say that I owned one of them at one time in my life. My wedding is coming soon and guess what I’m going to drive?

With my current job I don’t wake up anymore at dawn and believe me it is a luxury to still enjoy my job as a baker and have a “normal” life.

Q3: We know you have many baking video tutorials online through Problend-Eurogerm and hear you have a four-day workshop coming up at the Pastry Arts Academy. What do you have planned and what challenges do you face when teaching baking face to face?

A: This year I have few masterclass between USA and Europe.

In my class for the Pastry Arts Academy, we will be working on artisan bread and viennoiserie (kouignamann, brioche feuilletee, ancient grains breads,…).

The challenge I face when teaching every single time is to discover new equipment and new flours, but it is such an enjoyable challenge!

If it is too easy it is not fun, am I right? What I love with these workshops is to meet new people and share our love of bakery. I love to share my knowledge and the people who follow me on my Instagram know that. I always take some time for everyone on "messages" to answer their questions.

Q4: What new trends, products, or innovations do you expect to see in baking in the future? Do you have a favorite pastry you like to bake? Do you remember the first pastry you learned to bake?

A: For me, the main trend is how to be healthier and still enjoy a good piece of bread, this is why I’am trying to be more open and work on special projects like vegan brioche!

My favorite pastry to bake nowadays is the Kouign-amann, it is a very nice looking pastry that offers a special play with texture; very crunchy on the outside and very soft on the inside! LOVE IT but not really in the trend I just talked about 😊

As far as my first pastry, yes, I remember it was a croissant. I was 10 years old in the bakery of my uncle. I remember how amazed I was to place so much butter inside the dough and to get such an amazing end result!

Q5: Do you have any recommendations for those who plan on pursuing baking as a career? Why do you wear Clement Design?

A: If you want to be a baker, you will spend a lot of time in your lab, alone, just you and the dough. Through this time you'll need to understand what the dough needs to end up to be a beautiful piece of bread or a beautiful croissant. You will fail a lot, no doubt about it but it is to understand better and be stronger in what you do. Being a baker is not a fast run but a marathon, and we learn every day. You just need to be patient!

I discovered Clement Design 5 or 6 years ago and I just wondered why it took me so long to discover them! The quality of the jacket is without any doubt better than others but what makes a huge difference for me is their service, I wear nothing but Clement Design now! When I order Clement Design in the US, I receive my personalized jackets in just a matter of days.

To find out more about Romain Dufour's upcoming Masterclass, be sure to click and visit the link! Spots are closing fast and it isn't often you have a chance to learn from a master baker himself. Follow Romain on Instagram as well for a look into his personal life and one as a baker! 

Thanks for taking a little peek into chef Romain Dufour's life, if you want to find out more information be sure to follow along with him on social media. We cannot wait to see what future creations chef Romain produces and love working with him and Eurogerm. Check out a few of his amazing creations below and take a look at Problend-Eurogerm for bakery and food service products.

Drop a comment if below if you found this Q&A interesting and be sure to check out our other chefs in our Featured Chef Series! Want to stay up to date with our blog posts and special offers and promotions? Sign up for our newsletter below. check out last month's featured chef Bella Sophia Chocolates and be sure to follow our Featured Chef on Instagram for an exclusive 10% off discount you can only get directly through them!