The T+L Carry-On: Dominique Ansel
Welcome to the T+L Carry-On, where we take a look inside the luggage of jetsetters — and gain a few expert tips along the way.
We met up with pâtissier extraordinaire Dominique Ansel at The Bowery Hotel in New York City. Ansel, who many of you know as the inventor of the Cronut, finds himself on a plane — Pringles in hand — every few weeks. Read the full interview, below, where we touch on everything from his favorite bakeries in Paris to his latest tech obsession.
And don’t forget to check out last week’s column with the co-founders of Away Travel, Jen Rubio and Stephanie Korey.
On his relationship with travel:
I travel every two to three weeks, between London, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. I travel quite a lot now. I’ve had so many opportunities to open shops around the world, and so far, I’ve chosen New York, London, Tokyo, and soon, Los Angeles, because I love those cities.
The places that I travel to are actually the places I love, and the places I love are the places I travel to. I don’t want to open a bakery in a place where I don’t love the city.
What Inspires Him:
A lot of my inspiration comes from travel, actually. I love traveling, and during my travels so many different things inspire me when it comes to culture, ingredients, and ways of eating. But it’s also more than just focusing on food.
I was at an Issey Miyake exhibition in Japan that was all about movement. It was fascinating to me, and I always wanted to incorporate movement into the food, and we actually managed to do so with our blossoming hot chocolate that we sell now here in New York.
His Top Picks for Visitors Coming to New York City:
The Bowery Hotel is one of my favorite places in New York. When you walk in, it feels really comfortable, with the tiles and the lighting. You almost feel like you’re right at home. And they have a really nice restaurant.
Right next door to the Bowery Hotel is Bar Primi, which is actually one of my favorite restaurants. I love all the different sorts of food — it’s so eclectic. There’s such a wide mix of cultures and so many talented chefs that you can eat somewhere new almost every night.
His Travel Essentials:
I always bring my iPad, and a hotspot, which is very important for when I travel so I can always stay connected — especially when I visit different countries. And I have a converter for every country — it’s important for me to be able to plug in anything, anytime. I recently bought a GoPro — I started playing with it yesterday and I love it. It’s super practical. I’ve been using it to film in the kitchen, and I’m exploring all the things I can do with it, between photos, stop motion, and videos. Sharing what I see and what I’m working on with our followers is very important to me.
Then I always travel with sunglasses, wet wipes, vitamin D, and Pringles. Salt and vinegar Pringles are one of my favorite snacks to eat on the plane — I like to have something crunchy and salty and sour during the trip. I always grab a box before getting on a plane.
And I’m obsessed with flossing — I really can’t sleep if I haven’t flossed. It’s easy and convenient, so I always have some with me. I have this Smythson travel wallet, which was a Christmas gift. I travel to so many different countries, so it’s super useful. There are differently colored compartments and pockets, so every time you go to a different country, you can put your different currencies in it. Also, a chef’s coat — mine is by a French brand called Clement.
His Favorite Bakeries in Paris:
I lived in Paris for eight years, and I love it — it’s one of my favorite cities. There are so many great bakeries. I love Pierre Hermé, which is one of the best in the city. I love Christophe Michalak as well — he has an amazing shop there. And there’s a lot of young talent right there now, too.
His Latest Endeavor:
We’re opening our newest location in Tokyo in Ginza Mitsukoshi on March 29, so I’m really excited about this. The first shop we opened in Tokyo is in Shibuya, which is very young and has lots of shopping and things going on. Our second location will be in a department store — in Japan, department stores are really difficult to get. So we have a small shop, but an amazing location, and for the Ginza shop, we’ll be having some very exclusive desserts that are unique to this location.
I’ve been going to L.A. a lot lately, too. We’re opening our first location there, which will not only be a bakery, but also a restaurant. And then we opened a shop in London about six months ago; we’re launching an afternoon tea this spring — we’re still working on the menu.