How did you get started?
I started experimenting in my mom’s kitchen when I was ten or eleven, and then attended a class for kids after school where I learned how to cook. After that I would try making things myself in my mom’s kitchen. After the army I started working at a catering company in Raanana and then attended the Estella Confectionary School in Giva’at Shmuel for 6 months to hone my skills.
What is unique about what you do?
I guess everyone is unique – you bring your own thoughts, tastes and imagination to each of your creations. For example, if you like salty tastes, you might create something like salted caramel with bananas. You simply incorporate that part of you into the craft, and I guess in this sense everyone is unique. It’s always best if you love what you create.
What are your specialties?
My specialties are macaroons but I enjoy working with chocolate, caramel and nuts as well. Whatever you do, it’s essential that only top quality products are used. You cannot expect to create an excellent product from mediocre raw products.
What else do you do?
I take part in the farmers’ market held at the Ichrim market which is in Moshav Tzofit near Cfar Saba. For the market I make babkas, challas, brioches and cookies. I make breads from time to time, but find that I am not as passionate about bread making. I also regularly post my pastries on Instagram, and find that people respond well; they ask for recipes and often provide feedback. It’s a nice way to share what you do, a great way to interact.
Where do you work today?
I work for a catering company located in Raanana called Limor Ephrat. The company has been in existence for 18 years and I have been with them for about 7 years. We make desserts for restaurants, most of them in Tel Aviv, and cater for private functions such as bar mitzvahs and weddings.
And prior to that?
I have also worked at two well-known restaurants: Yaffo Tel Aviv, with Chef Haim Cohen and Sebastian in Herzlia. Today I have catering experience as well as experience at service in restaurants. Eventually you get used to everything, but working in a restaurant is very different to catering. At the restaurants I made desserts or breads, depending on the specific requirements of the restaurant. Everything had to be made from scratch, from the dough through to baking and serving it.
What are your professional and personal goals?
I want to improve my skills and further my knowledge professionally. But first and foremost to enjoy life, to travel, to jog more. You need to be active in order to keep your body fit. My work is very physical. For example a bag of sugar weights 25 kg and you need to be able to lift bags of sugar and flour throughout the day. Also as a chef, it’s important to stay fit in order not to get fat because you are surrounded all day long by candies and pastries that smell delicious. It’s hard not to give in to temptation.
What are your dreams? What would you like to be when you grow up?
I want to be independent. I dream of starting my own small pastry business. The shop will have lots of beautiful colors that people will come and see; they will pop in to have a cup of coffee and try a pastry; a place where I can connect with people, and receive their feedback. Somewhere that will be a home for both me and my clients, something which will enable me to express myself. But that’s my dream, for the moment I have no concrete plans. Six months ago I broke up with my life partner, and have been single ever since. Now I’m trying to pace my life, and hope to travel to India in July. Perhaps when I get back I might start thinking about turning my dream into a reality…
And on a personal level?
In 2015 I will be turning 30, an emotional event for me, emotion that can be expressed both at work and in my personal life. I have travelled extensively and love travelling, but my two most favorite places are Mexico and New York City – I return there whenever I can. I also love skiing and usually go skiing in Europe once a year. I try to combine work with living and having fun. It’s especially important as it is very easy to simply sink into your work in this field.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
I believe that if you smile, people smile back.
To find out more about Danielle, visit her Instagram page: Chefdanielle