May 22, 2022

The pastry chef Sébastien Dumas, based in Coubladour, has created a business between home courses and sales

It is 11:30 a.m. this Saturday morning, January 22, in Coubladour, commune of Loudes. Sébastien Dumas, 35, is busy in his laboratory, recipe for a Saint-Honoré in hand. It’s a little late to see him baking a cake: he’s gathering the necessary utensils for the baking lesson he’s giving to three amateur ladies in the early afternoon, in a village not far from there. For him, pastry is a real passion. He always has. “My first memories go back to my childhood, when I spent my holidays with my grandparents. Every Sunday, I helped my grandfather do his famous rollover,” he explains.

Years before daring to start

As he grew up, Sébastien indulged in completely different hobbies. “I did theatre, music, drawing, I loved cinema”. He begins to dream of the stage and notoriety. But very quickly, reality catches up with him. Even if the musician in the making was doing well at school, his entourage dissuaded him from going down this path. Too uncertain. He then seeks his place in society by keeping music and pastry in a corner of his head. He began by studying languages, working sometimes in the insurance industry, sometimes in the telephony industry. “What I was doing didn’t motivate me. I continued until the day when I said to myself “Take time for yourself and reflect”. For a year, he decided to travel, traveling through Australia, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. The experience worked for him. “When you find yourself in countries without knowing where you’re going to go the next day, what you’re going to do, if you’ll be able to find work, it opens up a lot of perspectives on who you are and who you can be. »During his lesson, Sébastien Dumas shows various tricks, like here for the preparation of caramel.

He begins a CAP pastry at the approach of his thirties

Coming back, he finally feels able to live one of his dreams, but which one: to rock or become a pastry chef? He finally opts for the more “rational” of the two. “What I like about baking is the fact of starting from fifteen ingredients that look like nothing to make something out of them. I also like this balance to be found. Three grams too much in a recipe and it changes the whole cake. »
To learn the ropes, he has to go back to school. As he approaches his thirties, he begins a CAP in pastry. Difficult for him to go unnoticed among his classmates. “They called me Dad,” he says, amused, as he puts his equipment away in crates.
Upon leaving his training, his uncle, Frédéric Viallet, already in the business, took him under his wing. “He’s a great pastry chef. He hired me and trusted me when I had no experience. I owe him everything”. For two years, working alongside him, he discovered a certain vision of the profession to which he adheres today. “There are those who make classic pastry without worrying about balance or finish. And there are those who are more into exhibition. I try to be part of this category which rather wants to make a good and beautiful cake while keeping my feet on the ground. »Once the demonstration is done, it’s up to her one-day apprentices to get started.

In October 2019, he decided to open his own business without really knowing what direction to give him. Sébastien Dumas begins to offer lessons. Then, following numerous requests, goes on sale. “I realized that people wanted to eat the cakes more than make them.” With Le Puy full of professionals in this field, he chose to create an online store by setting up his laboratory in an old farmhouse inherited by his wife.
Mille-feuilles, macaroons, chocolate cakes, this perfectionist at heart bets on simplicity. Over the months, he finds his clientele. “People are delighted: they arrive, they park, they ring, they have their cakes. I could almost give them out the window. At the same time, the pastry chef still continues to teach at home by bringing the ingredients needed to make the requested cake. “I tell myself that, in life, we are only smugglers. I like to pass on my knowledge whether it is with other professionals or with individuals who have no diploma. »After two hours of lessons, four Saint-Honoré cakes were created.

The desire to transmit

1:30 p.m., Sébastien Dumas goes to Rachelle Touranche’s, in Empeytepas, in the town of Céaux-d’Allègre. “We wanted to have an activity with friends”, justifies the host. Today, she has chosen, with Alice and Lorène, to learn how to prepare a Saint-Honoré. A first for all three.
Once the equipment is in place and the first explanations given, the preparation of the elements of the cake can begin. Under Sébastien’s advice, Rachelle and her friends make Breton shortbread, cabbage and pastry cream. After a short coffee break, it’s time to prepare the caramel. On several occasions, the pastry chef gives them valuable tips. “For a good whipped cream, there are three imperatives: the cream must be whole, all the containers must be very cold and it is better to use icing sugar”.
Then, place to the assembly. If Sébastien has the safe gesture, his one-day students are a little more hesitant. Nevertheless, at the end of the course, the result is there. The pastry chef and his apprentices are under the spell of their preparation. However, it is not yet the time to move on to tasting. It will be done the same evening, after a good raclette.
Satisfied with the many positive feedbacks, the enthusiast intends to make his business flourish a little more. “I am going to expand my range of chocolates by offering, for example, candies made with ganache and praline. In a year or two, I might take the step of opening a boutique. »

Dominique Lemoine