We’re back. We experienced a technical glitch yesterday and was unable to post the weekly Spotlight interview. We’re making up for it today. Thanks for coming back around.
This week’s Chef in the Spotlight piggybacks onto last week’s Chef, Richard Gras. St. Regis Bal Harbour’s Executive Pastry Chef Antonio Bachour grew up in Puerto Rico and found a passion for pastry at a young age, due to a childhood spent in his family’s bakery. After pastry school Bachour spent a few years learning trade in Puerto Rico as a pastry chef at Sand Hotel and Casino and Westin Rio Mar before moving onto The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan. Bachour’s sweet reading resume continued to build as he moved to South Florida and took the beach by storm with his delicacies at notable restaurants; Talula, Devito South Beach and Scarpetta. In 2009, Bachour was part of the opening team at the W South Beach Hotel. Shortly after, he took over responsibility for all pastries for The Trump Soho hotel and its restaurants. In April 2011 Bachour trained in France with renowned chef Philippe Givre at L’ Ecole Valrhona. Later that year, Dessert Professional Magazine selected Bachour as one of their “Top 10 Pastry Chefs” in America for 2011. Antonio then became a finalist in the 2011 International Chef Congress Pastry Competition.
Bachour’s hyper-creative desserts have been featured in numerous pastry publications, such as Saber y Sabor (Spain), Starchefs (The Architecture of New York), Gourmet Magazine, Dessert Professional, Pastry Art & Design and National Culinary Review (Magazine of the American Culinary Federation). Additionally, Bachour contributed recipes for the Alan “Battman” Batt dessert cookbook Pudding (2010) and Pies (2011).
And yet with all these accolades Bachour seems to so easily whip up, he remains unequivocally modest and down-to-earth; he’s just a guy who’s really good at what he does. I present this week’s Chef in the Spotlight, Antonio Bachour.
South Florida Food and Wine: What made you choose your career path of baking and pastry versus culinary?
Antonio Bachour: From childhood I got into the kitchen when my mom was baking a cake, I loved to watch as she decorated. My father owned a bakery and there I spent all day looking at the pastry chef and my passion was growing!
South Florida Food and Wine: In 2011 you were honored as one of The Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the US by Dessert Professional Magazine, how has that award affected your life?
Antonio Bachour: I am honored that I was chosen among the top 10 of 2011. It was a very good experience, I have had many opportunities. This reward has affected me very positively and has served to recognize my work nationally.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite dessert item to make?
Antonio Bachour: We changed the dessert menu at JG Grill and my favorite dessert to make is a Lychee panna cotta with mango sorbet and Coconut napoleon with Yogurt Banana sorbet!
South Florida Food and Wine: You’re a great Pastry Chef, with that said, are you a good cook?
Antonio Bachour: I think I’m the worst cook! The savory cuisine is not my thing!
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the one dish you can make that would give Richard Gras (Chef de Cuisine of J& G Grill) a run for his money?
Antonio Bachour: Chef Richard is very good at what he does and I think together we make a great team!
South Florida Food and Wine: What is a typical day for you as the Executive Pastry Chef at the St. Regis Bal Harbour?
Antonio Bachour: A typical day is to arrive early to the pastry kitchen to create a new dessert, prepare the plan of the day, view the events in banquets, then organize the preparation of Fresco, room service, St Regis Bar and Grill and J&G desserts before meeting with Executive Chef Jordi Valles to view upcoming events, menus and amenity programs.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one go-to ingredient and why?
Antonio Bachour: My favorite ingredients are tropical fruits, I grew up in the Caribbean and I love tropical fruits. With tropical fruits you can make any desserts and we are fortunate to have an abundance of tropical fruits available in Miami.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about your position as Executive Pastry Chef at the St. Regis Bal Harbour?
Antonio Bachour: I think it is to create desserts that are not the same for each restaurant & outlet, because each has a different concepts. Most people don’t know we have about 6 different dessert menus at the resort! Quality, Consistency and guest satisfaction always comes first!
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Antonio Bachour: My Mother’s stuffed grape leaves and tabouli salad (she’s Lebanese)
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would love to bake and create with and why?
Antonio Bachour: Will be Pastry Chef Jordi Butron from Espai Sucre Spain. He’s amazing and his desserts combination are great!! Nobody combines better flavors than him.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Antonio Bachour: Milk Chocolate!! I love it!
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at other than at the St. Regis; and what did you order?
Antonio Bachour: Zuma, and I ordered the king crab with ponzu lime butter, Kurobuta pork belly skewer with yuzu miso mustard, and for dessert coconut yukidama.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to bake for? And why?
Antonio Bachour: For my dad, he died long ago and never ate my dessert!
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Antonio Bachour: Spend time with my nephews and play tennis.
Click here to read about my dinner at J&G Grill
J&G Grill St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort 9703 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour, FL 33154
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