Table Talk Waldo

Table Talk Waldo

Meet Waldo

Le Nouveau Chef presents a fun and laid-back interview series, featuring passionate individuals who inspire us. Our guests answer spontaneous questions about food culture, childhood dreams, breakfast habits, and everything in between.

Our guest, Waldo, is a pastry chef who creates the most delicious cakes in the healthiest way possible. His shops 'Waldo Chocolade en Patisserie' can be found in two locations in Amsterdam and at the market in Haarlem and Amstelveen. He is best known for his small cakes, chocolate scones, brownies, and other delicacies.

Early bird or night owl?
A night owl. I love the night because I sometimes have a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) and at night it feels like you have the whole world to yourself. I really like that feeling; no sense of time while you're busy with your work, that's the best thing there is.

But you have to get up early in this business, don't you?
Yes, that's for sure. I even think I partly chose this profession so I could get more out of my day. If I were always free and could completely organize my own time, I would often start my day late. That means that I normally don't get going until later in the day, but with this profession I force myself to get up early.

What pastry reminds you of your childhood?
What my mother used to make was homemade vanilla custard. It may sound a bit silly, but the bottom always burned a bit, causing the sugar and milk to caramelize, giving the custard a delicious deep caramel flavor. I loved it so much that I liked to lick the pan clean. Now we use the same yellow cream for our apple tarts and it remains a classic.          

Do you like to share recipes or do you prefer to keep them secret?
Both we share a number of recipes, but also keep a few for ourselves. That creates a certain tension, which I really like. Sometimes it has to remain a bit mysterious. I enjoy inspiring people, but also giving my own twist to my creations. I start from the base to build something nice from there. That's how I've always developed my recipes.

Often the failed recipes from the past turn out to be the best. For example, theinvention of the brownie; which was meant to be a chocolate cake, but by forgetting to add baking soda, it turned out flat. If you can look at these happy accidents with an open mind, it takes of a lot of pressure and makes baking even more fun.

What inspired you to make (healthy) sugar-free cakes?
In the beginning, I honestly felt a threshold. After all, I was trained to use sugar, butter, eggs etc. everywhere. It was quite a transition to look at it differently. But as a professional you want to keep developing yourself. Now I’ve embraced it and how great is it to make a delicious product with beautiful and healthy ingredients! It sometimes forces you to make choices: I will absolutely not do this and I will absolutely do this.

If you could bake anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
My ambition is to, one day, sell one signature cake worldwide. How exactly, I don't know yet, but that’s my ambition. Japan still seems incredibly cool to me. I've never been there, because I'm not a big fan of flying. But it's a completely different environment with different ingredients - everything is just different from here. That seems very interesting to me.

What do you think is the coolest trend of the moment?
The whole phenomenon of Cédric Grolet fascinates me. I think it's great how he promotes our profession on social media with beautiful, luxurious ingredients and is being picked up all around the world.

The Luxury ingredients he uses simply contain a lot of good raw materials. He likes to show this and I can only applaud it. In addition, Cédric Grolet often uses fruit sugars instead of regular sugar, which I also find very admirable.

I even had the pleasure of experiencing a high tea with Cédric Grolet in London and it was truly a special experience that I cherish.

The most special alternative to sugar? You can get so much flavor from fruit, think of raspberry, strawberry, apple, and so on. People often underestimate this. It is striking how you have to get used to the true taste of a product in the absence of added sugars. If you learn to taste before adding sugar, you realize how much flavor experience you have without it

I don't want to claim that you have to eat everything without sugar, because sometimes it just belongs in a recipe. But I think that if you are open to it, a whole new world can open up for you.

Never be able to use the refrigerator again or never be able to use the oven?
Never the refrigerator; there are always solutions to be found there. For me, the oven is central in almost everything I do. I think everyone knows that moment when you take something warm and freshly baked out of the oven and that delicious smell spreads; instant happiness. It's great to see how happy customers are when they walk into the store and immediately notice that smell.

Do you taste all your own baking creations?
We always taste them. You really have to do that. Do you know how important taste is? Apart from the development of it, it is the essence of everything you create. Everything starts with taste: good ingredients and a lot of love.

I write off the 'tasting' as 'quality control', which is essential. Normally I don't taste a whole cake either, but just a small piece. There is a difference between tasting and eating. But there are days when I am so engrossed in my work and have no other food with me that I do eat the entire cake.

Favourite music while baking?
I think this is a nice question, music is an important part of my working day and is always on. Teskey Brothers or Ibiza Lounge with saxophone music is always nice when I have a lot on my mind. I can also appreciate Dutch music. In the beginning I had a style rule in the store to play at least one song by André Hazes, because our store is located on the Eerste Sweelinckstraat, where there is also a statue of André Hazes. Unfortunately, we lost this tradition a bit.

Biggest baking fail of your career?
I remember that very well, and my mother does too. It was my first cake. As a young boy I was already very interested in baking and I liked to create something delicious with basic ingredients. My mother had laid out all the ingredients for me. I really thought you could just throw all the ingredients together and it would be delicious on its own. That cake ended up spending about 4.5 hours in the oven. My mother still talks about it. We tasted the cake and it was okay, but luckily I've only gotten better at baking since then. Well, you have to start somewhere. 

Is there any pastry that you really don't like?
Extremely sweet is not really my thing. What I really don't like are Churros. Just a fried dough stick... I avoid them at all cost. But I am really proud of our own oliebol, I am much happier with that.

If you weren't a pastry chef, what would you like to be?
I always thought it would be great to be in the music industry. I would have liked to go to the Conservatory, that’s so fantastic, but I really have the rhythm of a pancake. I think it’s just the whole feeling of creativity, which appeals to me enormously. Luckily that’s also central in the profession of pastry chef.

If you had the dream of baking with a Dutch pastry chef, who would that be?
Rudolp van Veen; I think 'dream' is a big word, but I really admire how inspiring and expertly he presents and creates. From my childhood I hung on his every word when I saw him on the television.

Another person who has inspired me during my childhood, is Gordon Ramsay. I always followed him on TV and found it fascinating how he could be so fierce in the kitchen and yet always seem to know the right thing, balancing on the edge. Every episode someone was burned or fired, but he always seemed to be right.

Click here to watch his interview on Instagram.

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