Learnings from Pastry Connection: The chefs Carolina Molea and Toni Rodríguez. Pioneers in vengan pastry, between ethics and flavor.
To qualify someone as “pioneer” it’s something very weird during these times, where almost everything comes already “packed”, and this is true even more if we are talking about the pastry world. Maybe because of that, to be a witness of that road, is truly a life present. This is what I felt when it was given to me the wonderful task of writing about the Pastry Connection Conferences, a very special event, organized by República del Cacao, through Facebook LIVE, on an exceptional moment of a global lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic.
The guests were two exceptional characters, who, on their own unique ways, represent the fundaments of “Vegan Pastry”: the chefs Carolina Molea and Toni Rodríguez. With Carolina, the feeling was very personal. On her, I recognized the charismatic and sweet woman of a tender smile that I had seen a hundred times. She still had a lot of what had connected me to her two decades ago. But now, she had grown, evolved, and most of all, revolutionized. She is the same woman, but now she talks about and defends her world, with the strength of a rock, and she can convince you of everything with no pretensions.
On this evolution, that started due to health reasons, Carolina started to rebel against cooking stereotypes, and she included the concept of “veganism” in pastry in the middle of a competitive and difficult world, where sugar, dairy, and other products from animal origin are the ones in control. While I was listening her about how her vegan process was, I imagined Carolina as an alchemist that found her philosopher stone, experimenting, tasting and developing different techniques until achieving perfection on her delicious and beautiful desserts, where the common factor is the absence of product from animal origin. And the most impactful thing was to watch her talk about that journey, as it would have been simple and with no falls. Her tenacity and certainty that she was on the right path helped her overcome everything between practicing and practicing until achieving perfection in every croissant, viennoiserie, in every cake and in every chocolate.
In front of a virtual audience, from Miami Carolina shared her little secrets with her conference partner Toni Rodríguez in Barcelona. It was the first time I saw Toni, and I thought of him more as a “millennial”, informal and uncomplicated. But after listening to him, he revealed himself in a very professional way. He became a vegan due to ethical reasons on 2004, and while his friends enjoyed themselves on parties, Toni started to discover his passion for gastronomy, and he begun to investigate and develop recipes with only ingredients from vegetal origin. He gained experience in vegetarian restaurants, but his curiosity for the research and development of vegan pastry, led him to create his own project on 2005.
All in all, Carolina and Toni developed themselves through their own personal revolutions, on which “clean flavors” and respect for nature don’t stop you from enjoying a tasty dessert.
María Victoria Cristancho, Communication Strategist, Expert in Multimedia Production for EL TIEMPO
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