Parisian Authenticity New-World Artistry

Parisian Authenticity New-World Artistry




Despite his soaring career as the master pâtissier and chocolatier at the iconic St. Regis Bali Resort, Pastry Chef Vincent Stopin is a humble man, as sweet as his caramelised Crème Chiboust.
Hailing from France, Chef Vincent’s intricate treats will trick your taste buds into thinking you’re at the most prestigious patisserie in Paris. His melt-in-your-mouth macaroons are the best I have found in Bali, while the red velvet cupcakes and crispy pastries bring classic Parisian delicacies into the twenty-first century. What’s his secret? Passion, hard work and consistency.

Exquisite Taste: What first inspired you to enter the world of desserts?

Vincent: I have been surrounded by it from the second I was born! In France, there are so many patisseries, chocolatiers and bakeries – it is a crucial part of our culture. So I started as a baker and soon went on to become a pâtissier. But in particular, the Mille-feuille has been very inspirational to me – I have always been intrigued by it. It is such a classic French dessert that you can play with, and I love the different textures of the puff pastry with the cream and vanilla. It’s just the best!

Exquisite Taste: How do you describe your style of dessert?

Vincent: I would say it is classically modern. It is classic because I create every dish the way it was intended, which is by using good, quality produce. I only use real butter to make fat, and only pure chocolate and fresh purees. I make a sponge with a real egg, real flour – none of these powders that are used so frequently nowadays. I use classic produce — it’s the only way. But then to introduce the avant-garde side of it, I use clean and modern presentation. Round desserts become long and intricate; lemon tarts are clear, not yellow. It is different and artistic. Modern technology and machines help with this. Take Espuma for example. It looks great and it is a very modern , but I can still retain classic flavours.




Exquisite Taste: You’ve travelled from France, to Britain, to Dubai and now you’re in Indonesia — what differences have you noticed working in Bali compared to elsewhere?

The weather changes everything! If it’s hot, it really affects the chocolate when there is no air conditioning! In Dubai in particular, it can reach 50ºC – I would make a truffle, but 2 minutes out of the refrigerator and it’s already melted! I also had to adapt the flavours for each country – in Dubai, they like it a little bit sweeter, yet slightly more dry. Less intense flavours and not much cream. Think almond pastries. Then in Ireland, I found they preferred more bitter tastes – I guess it goes well with a Guinness!

Exquisite Taste: So how do you please everyone’s individual tastes in Bali? There are so many different cultures here…

Vincent: I just have to make a lot of different flavours and varieties! Over time, you get to know what people generally like. I find that Russian people like bigger portions – things like cheesecakes and strawberry cakes. They enjoy trying new flavours that aren’t as common in Russia, like coconut and passionfruit sorbets. Then the Japanese are totally the opposite. They seem to like French pastries with lots of chocolate and vanilla flavours. They like smaller, individual portions to swap and share. So my cake and pastry displays reflect this, with varying sizes, flavours, smells and textures.

Exquisite Taste: And have you discovered any new ingredients from working in Indonesia?

Vincent: Yes, definitely. Cinnamon and vanilla from Papua and Sumbawa is incredible! I also love to use jackfruit, and of course, coconut, which is great for so many different recipes. I like to experiment with different varieties of sorbets. Tamarillo is very Balinese, and mixed with a bit of orange, c’est magnifique! Also, Durian is very popular and I do make some Durian ice creams, but it’s not really for me!


Exquisite Taste: So what is your favourite dessert to make, and what is your favourite dessert to eat?

Vincent: All of them! Although, souffles are always great to make – they’re so complex, and they require a lot of skill and concentration to make them so perfectly fluffy and puffy. But I also really like to work with nougatine. It adds a lot of texture to a dessert and some great flavour combinations. As for eating, Le Bourbon that we serve here at the St Regis Bali is definitely my favourite – I mix fine vanilla with intense chocolate. Délicieux!

Exquisite Taste: What is it that you enjoy the most about being a pastry chef? 

Vincent: I love how desserts awaken all of the five senses. They catch your eye. They hypnotize you with their smells. The tastes are indulgent. The touch is so delicate, like the soft bounce of a moist sponge cake. And for me as a chef, I love the hiss and crackle of spitting butter in a pan, or the ‘shoosh’ of a light cream against a spoon. All of your senses come to life!

Exquisite Taste: And what advice would you give to any budding pastry chefs?

Vincent: Work, work, work and more work! It’s not about the perfect cake you made that day, or the one you made a month ago, it’s about the consistency and the time that you put in to perfect your skills. It’s the work that you do before – the training – because practice really does make perfect! Obviously, you don’t want to be a slave to your work, you need to enjoy it as well. So you need to enjoy the fact you are working hard for something you love. It’s about the passion, the hard work and the consistency.