Sandro Micheli first developed his sweet tooth in his home town of Belfort in the Franche-Comte region of France. At the age 14, began his professional training at the Lycee H. Friant in Poligny, and spent his last year back in Belfort in a family pastry shop, working with Etienne Klein and his son Stéphane. Micheli spent this time learning the ethics of pastry and how to work with chocolate – and a natural propensity for the craft led to a series of stellar positions soon after.
In 1997, Sandro was a pastry chef at Restaurant Paul Bocuse near Lyon, where he continued to build upon foundation in fundamental pastry techniques. He then went on to join the 3-star Michelin restaurant Michel Guérard in Eugenie-les-Bains in the Landes region of France, near the Adour river. As a pastry chef, he worked with “à la minute” creations prepared with the freshest greenest herbs and fruit pickings from the garden. He continued to sharpen his skills as a pastry sous-chef at the Restaurant Les Crayères in Reims, Champagne, before following his desire for new world flavors. He traveled to New York and joined Restaurant Daniel as its pastry sous-chef and stayed for five years.
In 2005, Micheli joined the Groupe Alain Ducasse as the Pastry Chef at the 3 Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York. In January 2008, Micheli (and Ducasse) opened Adour in the legendary St. Regis Hotel flagship in New York. Micheli’s pastry is marked by a keen expertise on the different textures of pastry, and a balance between respect for tradition and constant evolution.
Interview with Pastry Chef Sandro Micheli of Adour – New York, NYAntoinette Bruno:
When and why did you start cooking? What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
I’ve always been interested in cooking. My mother was always in the kitchen. I gave her a hand and found it interesting. At 14 I had to make a choice – that’s the age in France you have to find what you want to so and to start to plan your career.
AB: Who are your mentors?
SM: Stephane Klein – he’s probably the best pastry chef in sugar show pieces. He has a pastry shop and taught me how to work with chocolate and how to be consistent.
AB:Did you attend pastry school?
SM: I attended the Ecole Hoteliere de Poligny in 1996 – it’s a pastry school. I recommend pastry school because you learn all the basics.
AB: What’s your favorite ingredient?
SM: Chocolate – there are so many different combinations. I also love summer fruits.
AB: What are your top three tips for pastry success?
1) Be consistent.
2) Hard worker.
3) Have an open mind.
AB: If you could cook for any chef in the world who whould it be? Who would you like to cook for you?
SM: I would like to cook for Paul Bocuse because I used to work for him and would like to show him what I can do now. I would want Michel Bras to cook for me.
AB: What is your favorite tool?
SM: My baby offset spatula – I never had one in France before. It is very convenient, practical, and can fit in my pocket.
AB: Do you have any advice for young pastry chefs?
SM: Try to work for a big-name restaurant – it will be hard, but worth it. Take your time and learn as much as you can.
AB: What’s your favorite interview question?
SM: “What do you want to be in three years?” I'm looking for someone who wants to be a chef and who wants to progress.
AB: What are your favorite restaurants off the beaten path?
SM: Soba-ya [on 9th Street in the East Village] for soba and tempura.
AB: If you weren't a pastry chef what would you be doing?
SM: I've always been interested in glass blowing.