© Karim Aidi
Nancy Passions Sucrées

Pâtisserie Derelle

Conversation with Frédéric Derelle – Master artisan pastry chef

Frédéric Derelle, a master artisan pastry chef, has been working in his trade since 1979. He set up shop with his wife 30 years ago in Seichamps, a town east of Nancy. Raised in a large family of boys, one of the first things he mentions is how he learned to make desserts with his mother. Something he did for pleasure, because desserts are always a pleasure, and we always remember good and beautiful desserts. He has the utmost respect for quality in his workshop, sharing his knowledge with pastry making classes. He is a master of the skills he practices every day. But for him, the foundation of learning is knowing how to pass on standards for high quality.

 

NANCY PASSIONS SUCRÉES SPECIALITIES

  • The Seichanais
  • Choco’Tee chocolate golf balls

“I wanted to create a speciality for Seichamps, the city where I live, to give the locals a speciality all their own.”

 

Why did you choose this profession and what was most appealing to you?

I come from a large family with nine boys. I would make dessert because I liked to cook with my mother, and then I carried on so I could make people happy. That’s the most important thing in pastry making. Dessert marks the end of the meal, it’s something we remember, and I think it’s wonderful to treat people, whether with a pièce montée layer cake, a simple dessert or a plated dessert.

 

How did you learn your skills?

I had a wonderful mentor for my two-year apprenticeship with Mr. Fresson, a master craftsman in Jarny, not far from Nancy. The basics are the most important, especially the need for quality. Then, I earned my master craftsman diploma, and after three years was granted the title of master artisan pasty chef. At age 21, I was the youngest in my class. My brother was also a pastry chef. Maybe that’s another reason that I wanted to become one myself.

 

How long did it take you to perfect the Seichanais?

Seichanais: I’ve been making the Seichanais for 20 years, so I’ve been tweaking my recipe for 20 years as well. I wanted to create a speciality for Seichamps, the city where I live, to give the locals a speciality all their own. I also wanted it to be available in several sizes, that’s why I use a pastry bag to make it. So, it comes in small, large, and even mini, so that people can eat it in a single bite.

Choco’Tee: the process was a bit longer for the Choco’Tee. I took me nearly 2 years to develop the concept, because I had to create the mould, the recipe and the boxes. I registered Choco’Tee as a brand and the name is screen printed on each of the chocolates.

What has experience taught you? Do you bring a personal touch to your work?

Seichanais: after several years, we have obviously gained experience, and the best example is when customers come to pick up their cake and you know they enjoy it. For me, what’s important is knowing how to work with a pastry bag. Today, everything is done very quickly, using moulds. So, for the Seichanais, you need the skilled hand of a craftsman with a pastry bag. Everything is done by hand, from A to Z. I bring my personalised finishing touch, writing “Frédéric Derelle” on the little macaroon.

Choco’Tee: I play golf myself, so when I was creating this product, I met lots of people in the world of golf, to get my name out there and to bring new customers to the shop. For example, players who have tasted this chocolate candy at the Pulnoy Golf Course then come to the shop and discover my other products. The Choco’Tee is my creation, it is in itself a personal touch.

 

Who do you want to pass on your expertise to? And how do you plan to do it?

I have six years left before retirement. I hope to pass on the Seichanais to whoever takes over my business, because it’s a registered trademark like Saint-Epvre or other products. So, I’ll try to train my apprentices, hoping that one of them will take over my shop and I will pass on this recipe to them, as well as the Choco’Tee.

 

Do you have any tasting advice or tips?

Seichanais: to enjoy the Seichanais, you need to take it out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving. Cut it, plate it, and let it sit for another 2 to 3 minutes for a soft and moist cake. You’ll see, it’s very creamy.

Choco’Tee: no need to keep it in the fridge, eat it straight from the box, and of course, in a single bite.

Our suggestions