Julien Perrinet: Learn From Failure But Never Fail Twice At The Same Task

Following our series of interviews with culinary luminaries, today’s edition takes us to the heart of Tokyo and the famed Park Hyatt Tokyo.  Wanderlust Tips USA is thrilled to present Julien Perrinet, the hotel’s Executive Pastry Chef, for an insightful conversation.

The Park Hyatt Tokyo, a renowned 5-star establishment in Shinjuku, is synonymous with luxury.  From its elegant rooms boasting panoramic views of Mount Fuji to the world-class spa and diverse restaurants, it is a haven for discerning travelers.  But for Chef Julien Perrinet, it is also a canvas where he has meticulously crafted his career in pastry artistry.  His creations – customary, elegant, and undeniably luxurious – are a testament to his dedication.

Chef Julien Perrinet’s recent promotion as Executive Pastry Chef for Asia Pacific for Hyatt Group adds even more weight to his already insightful perspective. This is a significant accomplishment, and he will continue to be based in Park Hyatt Tokyo.  Those with a passion for food or aspiring chefs yearning to make their mark on the culinary world will find his experiences, philosophies, and innovative spirit a goldmine of knowledge. We’ll delve into his journey, the inspiration behind his work, and the unique approach that has propelled him to this new leadership role. So, get ready for a captivating journey into the world of pastry with Chef Julien Perrinet!

Welcome, Chef Perrinet! Our readers would love to learn more about you. Can you share a bit about your background and journey as a pastry chef? 

Life’s a constant adventure for me! I’m naturally curious, always absorbing the sights, sounds, and flavors of every new place I explore. Kindness is my guiding principle, and a positive outlook is my secret weapon. But the real magic happens in the pastry kitchen – it’s where my passion truly burns. Inspiration is everywhere, and I see myself as a hunter, constantly on the lookout for the next flavor combination or artistic twist that will ignite my creativity and translate into a stunning dessert.

What sparked your interest in the culinary world? And what excites you most about your current role as Executive Pastry Chef at Park Hyatt Tokyo?

My interest in the culinary world is always about delivering the best for our clientele and making sure that everyone has the best experience. What excites me in Park Hyatt Tokyo is the liberty of creation and the chance of having the best quality ingredients in Japan. Park Hyatt Tokyo is closing for renovation from may 6th 2024 for around 1 year and so, we have the chance now to focus on sourcing the best of the best ingredients and concepts for the reopening.

What drew you to Park Hyatt Tokyo, and how does your past experience align with the responsibilities of this position? 

I have been working for the Hyatt Group for 9 years, and to be in charge now of one of the best hotels within the group worldwide is very exciting. This hotel is iconic and we have to deliver more than the best every day. This is a big responsibility. But having more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, I am very confident on how to manage this pressure. Teamwork is the key to success. I will never be able to be where I am without a great team.

Describe a situation at Park Hyatt Tokyo where you encountered a pastry recipe issue and how you successfully tackled it?

When I joined the hotel back in 2020, I was very surprised with the quality of the croissant. So I made this my top priority until recently. We have been recognized as one of the best croissants in Tokyo by a famous TV show. Such a good recovery. 

Who are your culinary inspirations, and what lessons have they instilled in you? How did your early culinary experiences shape your approach to food? 

Nowadays with social media we have so much possibility of getting inspired. For me inspiration is everywhere, all the time. Even when I am on holidays, a building, a plate, a shape can become a new dessert. I think when you are passionate, it’s in you and always in you. 

My wife is also a great inspiration and she always keeps an eye on what I am doing, as she is maybe the only one around me who dares to tell me the real truth…My culinary experiences went from working with MOF chefs to famous Michelin starred restaurants so I have the chance to get a lot of different experiences through my career. I believe that those different experiences shaped me to become what I am today.

Describe your personal culinary style. What ingredients do you find most inspiring for creating delicious dishes at Park Hyatt Tokyo, and what inspires your choices? 

My culinary style is really focused on magnifying a product. I love fresh fruits. So, my main focus is following the season, selecting the best products at his best and creating a combination of flavor to make this chosen ingredients even better. My job is to choose the best ingredients and make them better.

I love to keep the cake sample, yet very elegant, light and not sweet to make them attractive with a luxury touch. I want to make sure people understand what they will eat just by looking at the cake. Nothing useless should interfere. 

In Park Hyatt Tokyo, we are very lucky since Japan has to offer multiple amazing quality ingredients. The hotel is closing in May 2024 for a long period and I can’t wait to take this opportunity to source more and select new sensational products. 

Reflecting on your work at Park Hyatt Tokyo, what would you consider your most acclaimed dish and why? 

Probably the most acclaimed signature cake available here is the Tonka bean fromage blanc tart. It is a very simple cake, yet elegant with the flower petals creamy piping. The composition is very simple, a baked cheese-fromage blanc cream at the bottom, and a slightly whipped ~38% fat contains~ cream from Hokkaido, with a gentle touch of Tonka bean on the top. This is by far, one of the most popular cakes, since it is very creamy and light, exactly what Japanese people like.

Another one, will be the Croissant Mont-blanc. Maybe not my personal favorite, but through the years, this has become an unavoidable sweet in Park Hyatt Tokyo.

How do you approach catering to customers with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free or vegan preferences, at Park Hyatt Tokyo?

In Park Hyatt we have a very strong personalization program for our guests. We can do whatever people request or surprise them depending on their food habits. We, of course, have a range of items always available for special requests. Saying “not possible” is definity not part of our philosophy. I have learned a lot about special diet during my trips all around Asia for the last past 20 years and I can say that I always have a solution or a possibility to satisfy the cakes.

How do you stay abreast of the latest trends in the pastry world, and what are the key criteria you prioritize while creating dishes for Park Hyatt Tokyo?

Of course, I always keep an eye on what’s going on and what are the new trends around the world. However, my clientele here love classics and the simple style that I proposed. So, I always prioritize seasonal products and a simple elegant presentation for every single cake.

Have you been involved in menu development at Park Hyatt Tokyo? If so, how do you envision the future menu attracting your target audience? 

Yes, of course, especially at this moment preparing the Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel reopening in 2025. We are focusing here on how to deliver the best products according to our concepts. Sourcing locally is our top priority to create new menus.

What advice would you offer someone aspiring to become a chef, particularly those interested in working at Park Hyatt Tokyo? 

Never stop learning, you only learn from failure not success. But never fail twice at the same task. Also, be passionate, love what you do, because you will have to face very challenging situations, and the passion will help you to go through difficult moments. 

Don’t miss the next installments in our interview series! We’ll be dishing up more culinary gems and travel insights from all corners of the globe, so stay tuned!

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