Dazzled by the beautiful creations found in La Patisserie at the Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta, Exquisite Taste sat down with Chef Lorenzo to find out about his sugary touch.
Inspired by baking apple strudel and biscuits with his grandmother as a 5-year-old, Lorenzo Sollecito chose to become a chef, and has worked in several European hotels and restaurants. His culinary path changed, however, when he met his mentor, Executive Pastry Chef Domenico di Clemente at the two Michelin-starred Il Palagio at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. Now Executive Pastry Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta, Lorenzo crafts innovative, artistic creations that delight and captivate the senses, from bespoke cakes to chocolate bonbons.
Holding firm to the philosophy, “Nothing should go in front of a guest if we don’t love it ourselves,” Lorenzo was one of a select few chefs invited to take part in the highly renowned Four Seasons Pop Down in Philadelphia, an innovative global series brought to life by a selected team of Four Seasons artists and visionaries from around the world. He will also attend the Pop Down in Hong Kong in March 2019.
E: Your creations are gorgeous, both to eat and to look at, this is clearly your passion. What first attracted you to becoming a pastry chef?
Lorenzo Sollecito: My career started in a bit of a weird way. Before I moved to the pastry side, I was working in the hot kitchen. I decided to see what it would be like in the pastry kitchen when I was offered a six-month stint in the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze and everything changed. It’s totally another world, but I’m very glad that I made that choice.
E: You’ve mentioned pastry is a science; how is it different from cooking non-pastry dishes?
L: With pastry you have to plan and be precise with everything and you can’t make any mistakes. For savoury dishes, guests mainly remember the flavours, while for sweet dishes, it has to be a gorgeous piece of art as well as tasting beautiful, otherwise you disappoint the guests.
E: What is your favourite sweet dish to eat?
L: I work long days with desserts, so when I go out I don’t want to see any! When I’m working I’m super picky, super stressful, super demanding – the classic chef – but out of my jacket, I’m easy going, so if I do eat something sweet it has to be very easy, an apple crumble or strudel, something that reminds me of home.
E: Where do you find your inspiration?
L: It’s easy to find inspiration these days with the TV, internet and social media. For pastry our creations are often either theme based – like Valentine’s Day, Christmas – or based on seasons or flavours. For example in apple season I look for an attractive combination of flavours that places apples at the forefront.
E: What is your favourite feature of La Patisserie?
L: I really love working with chocolate and I’ve created an exclusive selection of bonbons for La Patisserie that offer a combination of flavours for her and for him. They make perfect gifts and chocolate is definitely what I have the most fun working with.
Palm Sugar Jelly
- 325g water
- 275g Indonesian palm sugar
- 7.5g gelatine sheet
- 5g fine sea salt
Palm Sugar Cremeux
- 200g fresh milk
- 240g 36% cream
- 125g egg yolk
- 160g Indonesian palm sugar
- 65g gelatine sheet
- 22g fine sea salt
- 200g thick coconut milk
- 75g fresh milk
- 25g sugar
- 50g gelatine sheet
- 36g Boiron coconut puree
- 75g fresh lime juice
- 300g 36% whipped cream
- 75g toasted coconut
- 750g egg white
- 108g sugar
- 45g fine ground almond
- 45g grated coconut
- 108g icing sugar
- 45g soft flour
- 100g fresh milk
- 100g 36% cream
- 30g sugar
- 40g egg yolk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 20g pandan extract
For Palm Sugar Jelly
- Soak the gelatine in ice water.
- Bring water to the boil with palm sugar and salt.
- Add gelatine to boiling sugar water and mix well.
- Pour into the serving glass.
For Palm Sugar Cremeux
- Mix milk, palm sugar and cream and bring to the boil.
- Pour the boiling mixture onto the egg yolk and mix well.
- Return mixture to the pan and cook until it reaches 84-86C.
- Add salt, stir.
- Add gelatine, stir.
For Coconut Mousse
- Mix coconut milk, fresh milk and sugar then bring to the boil.
- Soak the gelatine in water then add to the milk.
- Stir whipped cream into the mixture.
- Add fresh lime juice and toasted coconut.
For Coconut Dacquoise
- Whisk egg white and sugar to soft peaks.
- Gently stir in all dry ingredients.
- Bake at 180C in the oven.
For Pandan Liquid
- Bring fresh milk and cream to the boil.
- Pour over the egg yolk and sugar, then mix well.
- Return to the pan and heat to 65C.
- Add pandan extract.
For Lemongrass Pandan Smoke
- Chop some lemongrass and dry in a hot box or oven.
- Add pandan essence.
- Prepare glasses
- Pour in palm sugar jelly and leave to set.
- Pour palm sugar cremeux on top and leave to set.
- Make a hole in the middle using a spoon.
- Pour in pandan liquid and cover with coconut dacquoise.
- Pour in coconut mouse as final layer and leave to set.
- Decorate with crumble, berries and flowers to resemble a garden.
- Put pandan smoke into the glass.
- Cover with a chocolate decoration on top of the glass.
Exquisite Taste March – May 2019