Antoinette Bruno: When and why did you start cooking? What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
Sandro Micheli: 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.