Internationally renowned local patissier-chocolatier Patrick Agnellet is a master of his art form. Located in La Clusaz, he has been awarded several distinctions and is part of the elite Relais Desserts.
His abounding creativity has led to the creation of his alphabet of savours (a presentation box of 26 original chocolates) or his collection Gourmand’art (a tableau made entirely from chocolate).
He achieved the ultimate recognition in 2017 when he was asked to create the 40th birthday cake of the President of the Republic, called “L’Elysée” with his son Louis.
What attracted you to patisserie?
Since I was small, I have always loved all things sweet. My mother said I was a « born-patissier » ! At home I always wanted to help in the kitchen and my job was to crack the eggs. I already saw beauty in the simplest products, the deep red of raspberries, the shape of blueberries and oh the cakes! My parents were farmers and I was not born into it, but it was obvious the world of patisserie was for me. At the time I wasn’t yet aware of this wonderful profession!
You seem very close to your family and origins?
Family has always been central in my life. I had a very simple childhood, we didn’t live in the lap of luxury, but we were very happy. The core family values of a strong work ethic, respect of others and mutual aid, were passed on to me during my childhood at the farm, through the chores required of me and have been essential throughout my career. Life in the mountains relies heavily on mutual assistance and exchange, which inevitably brings people closer together! I try to maintain these values in my work and contact with collaborators.
Your son is following in your footsteps, did he learn everything from you?
Over the years I have enjoyed passing on my knowledge, especially to my son. He had a sweet tooth from a very young age, which is very important! He has always had his own vision and has developed his own convictions, his own personality and completed his apprenticeship in other establishments. He has competed in various contests like myeslf and has been very successful, he qualified for the WorldSkills competition and went through to the World Final. I think my career may have inspired him, but he is dedicated to carving his own way and revealing his own talent.
Why did you choose this region for your establishments?
Shops in Annecy-le-vieux and La Clusaz.
When the atmosphere, ambiance, way of life, changing seasons and alpine culture are part of you, it’s impossible to leave the region. My childhood was spent in this environment, it was filled with such intensely happy, memorable moments as picking blueberries or raspberries with my mother and having picnics in the wood. I love my homeland and I am aware of how lucky I am to live here. There’s no way I can leave!
Are your creations inspired by your surroundings?
Annecy and La Clusaz influence me greatly, it’s inevitable. There is often a story within a story in my creations, something that brings me back to my origins to promote a particular mountain or pay tribute to my mother or grandmother for example. When I work on a recipe, I often start with the simple things from my past, but my personality has developed over the years, during my travels and with the people I have met. Sometimes I can be deeply affected by unexpected discoveries that will influence me from an artistic, gustative or cultural point of view, for example the Grand Palais, Hôtel Dieu in Lyon or even the power of words. One day, I discovered that in poetry, words can be given unbelievable power, it all depends on how they are assembled. It’s the same in music, it’s different notes assembled in a certain way to make a harmony. There are not that many notes, but there is an infinite number of possibilities. I find similitudes in my creations where I assemble the ingredients for an infinite number of flavours!
What do you hope to convey to people who taste your creations?
I always seek to give my best, as I would like things to be. The keystones of my profession are to create beautiful and delicious things. I get pleasure from creating for others, I love when people discover a new product for the first time, especially when they like it! The more you prepare for others, the more you want to give. There’s nothing better than to watch the surprise on people’s faces.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIONS
This is a collection of 26 varieties of chocolate, each with a different flavour, taste and texture. I love crafting each element and rediscovering each flavour. Poetry is an integral part of the collection with each word from Amour to Big Bang right through to Zen having a meaning in each chocolate.
L’alphabet de saveur
The most iconic creation
La Tarte Louise
La Clusaz inspired collection
A creation inspired by an athlete
Les Reflets du Lac
A creation inspired by Annecy