Everyone has to find something that motivates them in life, their passion, and for me, that is confectionery. I don’t have any negative associations or nervousness regarding my job and I think that should be your goal when discerning a career path.
It is great that we finally get to introduce you to Martina Marton, a successful pastry chef who has managed to try her hand at many different types of professional kitchens in just over a year since finishing the Professional Pastry and Confections program. First, she worked as a pastry chef in a pastry shop, and then at a hotel. Today, she develops creative restaurant desserts at one of the top restaurants on the Croatian coast - Plavi Podrum. It is hard to imagine that not so long ago, confectionery was just a hobby for her, but with education, work, and experience, it has become much more. It can be said that in pastry Martina found more than a job, she found her calling. Why shouldn't this be you as well?
MARTINA AS PASTRY CHEF
Kul IN: How would you describe a successful dessert?
- A successful dessert depends on the occasion, but it must be pleasing to the eye and made of quality ingredients. It should not be plastic, the flavors need to be well combined. A successful dessert is a rounded story, top quality both in taste and appearance. Through my desserts, I always want to inspire the "wow" effect in the guest. It makes me happy and motivates me when I see that the guest has tried something new and exciting.
Kul IN: How would you describe a good pastry chef?
- A good pastry chef is meticulous, skillful in the kitchen, open to learning new techniques, and adaptive to trends. It is necessary to constantly improve. The pastry is an ever-changing industry and you should always try to keep up with what is happening, what is new. Pastry chefs should also cultivate faith in themselves and not create unnecessary stress. Our careers should be a source of joy, not frustration.
Kul IN: Do you have a message for our current and future students?
- Do not be afraid of the unknown, but follow your dreams. Focus and find what makes you happy and motivated in this business and chase that good vibe.
Kul IN: What inspires you in pastry and confectionery?
- I have an artistic spirit, I like to create something of my own, I have a constant desire to create something new and that's where the inspiration for desserts originates.
Kul IN: Any specific plans for the future?
- I would like to work and realize my career in pastry. Right now, I don't wish to open my own business, but I want to work in great professional kitchens and encounter different ways of preparing desserts.
AFTER Kul IN
Here we are a year later and we can proudly say that Martina realized her plans and more. So, what's next for her?
Kul IN: After finishing the program, did you find a job quickly?
- Yes, I got a job in a pastry shop in Zagreb, and then in a hotel, where I was the main pastry chef. The experience of working in a hotel with a capacity of 500 guests was really special. Once you start working, new opportunities open up and you find employment easier. That is why it is important to stay productive and network. From the beginning, my wish was to realize myself in restaurant confectionery and now it has come true. I have the opportunity to do something new, create recipes, work with interesting foods and dedicate myself to what I love.
Kul IN: Has this industry managed to live up to your expectations?
- You could say that I dream of desserts, recipes come to me constantly, I love to bake and I love developing new ideas. I don't have anxiety about going to work, quite the opposite - I can’t wait to come to the kitchen and see what I’m going to do today, how I’m going to approach this or that recipe, what I need to come up with and how. I really enjoy it.
Kul IN: Are you planning to attend additional education programs?
- As for longer programs, it is not necessary, but for masterclasses, of course! So far, I have been to a masterclass at Kul IN last year, and I plan to attend similar masterclasses in the future. In this business, it is very important to keep up with what is trending. Chances of you inventing something that no one in the world has already tried are small, but it is important to give your own take on a trend.
Kul IN: How did the experience from Kul IN help you become a great pastry chef today?
- The Pastry and Confectionery program was the perfect foundation and it put me in that professional world of pastry, and I got a great base. Now I can continue to build my career.
Kul IN: You are the third Kul IN alumni to work at Plavi Podrum, what do you like most about working there?
- I like having that freedom in creating desserts. I try to think about the local climate when creating recipes, I want to keep the local identity and seasonal character in everything I do, that is my goal.
Kul IN: What does your typical working day at Plavi Podrum look like?
- I work from 8 am to 4 pm. The chefs come to work around 11, which is great because I have the kitchen all to myself throughout the morning. I prepare desserts in segments, for each dessert I prepare an insert, a sponge and then I make a cream and decorations. It takes time, all desserts need time to absorb the flavors. We work with the best ingredients, e.g. Valrhona chocolate and it really is a pleasure working here every day. We change the desserts and the menu seasonally and every day we go to the market to buy fresh ingredients.
Kul IN: Which dessert from the menu is your favorite?
- I am addicted to sweets and I am always trying something new. I hoped that I would get tired of trying my desserts over time, but I haven't (laughs). My favorite dessert is Tikvalicious. I created the recipe and imagined it as a mousse with nutmeg, the sponge is joconde, and the insert is made of blood orange with praline paste and pumpkin seeds. One of the components is a crumble with almonds and pumpkin seeds and ice cream made from nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon.
Kul IN: More than a year after the end of the program, what would your answer to the question "Why is it great to be a pastry chef“ be?
- Everyone has to find something that motivates them in life, their passion, and for me, that is confectionery. I don’t have any negative associations or nervousness regarding my job and I think that should be your goal when discerning a career path.