Yves Chambaz Spring 2018 Blog
by Yves Chambaz, June 23, 2018
It is always exciting news when I receive a proposal for a commissioned job. It gives me great liberty of creation in the kitchen, and it definitely represents a new challenge. This time, the theme revolved around the revival of childhood memories, the discovery of wonders, retro toys, and family. The target, 400 adults, ages and likes non-specified. The occasion, a corporate celebration inviting their associates to mingle and network, accompanied by a full bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. The location, Navy Pier.
After brainstorming and drafting ideas on my sketch book, one of them seemed to englobe all the concepts of the event. That idea included a puzzle-like game, with the pieces of a toy hidden separately in a Kinder-Bueno-like chocolate shell, inviting guests to go around looking for its match, lifting the sense of discovery, forcing guests to mingle with each other, for a common goal, to build a puzzle toy. It sounded marvelous, but only if the target were a little younger, maybe under 15. I was sent back to the drawing board.
I had less than a day to submit my proposal. In the bus, I see the regular crowd, immersed in their phones, plugged into their headsets, looking down at their devices, and swinging their fingers against the screen of their phones. Suddenly, a very common sight catches my view, someone trying to catch as many Pokémons as possible, while sitting down, in the Pokémon Go app. Then, I remember hearing about a Pokémon Go fest happening in the city at the end of June. That was it! Both events were happening in the same week, in the same area. Adults do play Pokémon, it’s a thing. So, I decided to make chocolate Pokéballs, with an actual figurine inside.
The project was approved! But this was not the best part yet. I got the chance to invite participants, of my program at Gallery 37, current and former, to work with me on this project. I immediately reached out to an alumni that I knew would be a good fit thanks to her experience in the industry, working with Food for Thought and Molly’s Bakeshop. Another one graduated a year ago and he just finished his first year of baking and pastry here at Kendall. My third collaborator, my current program assistant, warming up for the program’s summer session. It felt like a reunion. Sharing stories of where have you been and what have you been doing. Recalling moments that got marked in our memories in that same space. All of them agreeing on me being too intense sometimes, especially during service. But they understood that my behavior, my stress for perfection, was caused by my passion for the craft, by me wanting the best experience for our guests. We all laughed. Then one of them, the most veteran shared a similar moment during an event. She stressed on the importance of servicing the guest, no matter what is happening behind curtains, the guest experience is a priority. My message went through.
There, in the kitchen we met for the first time, with these three young cooks, a speaker blasting music, and hibiscus water to wash down a pizza to share, we worked together to bring this project to reality.