“Without C-CAP, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reach the level in the industry that I have achieved so far in my professional career.” – Saïd Merfouk
Pastry Chef, Porter House NY
Originally from Casablanca, Morocco, Pastry Chef Saïd Merfouk grew up in a country of diverse cultures, and with baked goods and pastries that were a blend of several cultures. He enjoyed the local Moroccan specialties and the desserts, but he fell in love with the French desserts in particular, and was inspired to become a pastry chef. When he moved to New York as a teenager, he participated in the C-CAP program and ultimately garnered a full-tuition scholarship to study at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) through C-CAP’s Cooking Competition for Scholarships. When he completed his job training at B.R. Guest’s flagship restaurant Blue Water Grill, he then joined the culinary staff as a prep cook at Geoffrey Zakarian’s Country Restaurant. Following his love for pastry and baking, he enthusiastically began his journey as a pastry cook at Buddha Bar, followed by Gotham Bar and Grill with celebrated Pastry Chef Deborah Racicot, then on to Danny Meyer’s famed Eleven Madison Park, Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain, Noisette Pastries, Reynard Restaurant in the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, and The Smith. He continued to sharpen his skills working with Pastry Chef Wayne Harley Brachman at Porter House NY and with Pastry Chef Amy Hess at April Bloomfield’s The Breslin Bar and Dining Room.
“Without C-CAP, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reach the level in the industry that I have achieved so far in my professional career. Having had the opportunity to work with so many fine chefs has given me the confidence to become an executive pastry chef.”
He was awarded the 2015-2016 Dessert Professional Magazine/Institute of Culinary Education scholarship for a C-CAP alum to study at the Center for Advanced Pastry Studies. He completed the three-day class with Philippe Rigollot MOF on Dessert Buffet and Bonbons. Chef Philippe Rigollot first taught at ICE in 2014; this was his second hands-on class for industry professionals in New York. He was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (M.O.F.) in 2007, as documented in the 2009 movie Kings of Pastry. His dessert philosophy is to highlight fruity flavors and not emphasize sweetness; he tries to play with different textures and temperatures, and aims for simple but striking presentation.
Saïd worked with Chef Rigollot to create a variety of his signature bonbons, entremets cakes and tarts, and petits gateaux featuring recipes from Patisserie Philippe Rigollot in Annecy. “I learned so many techniques. I was amazed with the French pastries we created and so thankful to Chef Philippe for this experience. He has opened my eyes to the infinite possibilities to use my talents and has made a profound influence, taking me to a new level in my career, and bringing me closer to my dream and outlook for the future as a pastry chef.”
The Center for Advance Pastry Studies program at ICE is an excellent way for industry professionals to expand their repertoire of skills. Attendees are local, national and international – as are the instructors. So for a C-CAP alum, the ICE-Dessert Professional Magazine scholarship is a fantastic opportunity to network, meet other working chefs, and be able to take a class on the most modern techniques for entremets, petits gateaux and petits fours hands-on with an MOF.”
—Kathryn Gordon Chef Instructor/Co-Chair Center for Advanced Pastry, ICE