Alexander Pavlov is a pastry chef and owner of Pavlov’s lab — аn atelier for sugary goodness. The place where he lives and creates is Athens, Greece.
How did you decide you wanted to be a pastry chef — is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Knowing how general it may sound, truth be told, this is all I’ve ever wanted to be. Although I studied Political Science at first, the art of patisserie won me over.
Did you attend culinary school or did you learn with lots of practice?
Both! Culinary school gave me all the fundamental knowledge, and I think practice never ends when you want to excel in what you choose to do! After all,
You recently opened your own patisserie studio — Pavlov’s Lab. Tell us more about the process of starting your own business.
Pavlov’s Lab is my sanctuary. It’s like entering a whole different world, full of flavors, scented by chocolate, vanilla and sugar aromas.
Considering the economic situation in Greece nowadays, have things changed for your business in any way?
I’m not going to lie: оwning a business in Greece, at this given point in time, is no picnic. It’s not because we Greeks have stopped craving for something sweet, or because we cannot afford it! The unstable political & economic situation is what makes us hesitant. We have somehow lost part of the spontaneity that defines us. We think twice before proceeding with any purchase, exactly because we are uncertain about what the future will bring. But Pavlov’s Lab is all about providing excellent quality delicacies and services, at affordable prices, and that’s something our customers know and appreciate.
Pastry is perceived as the most difficult culinary craft, as a lot of precision is required. Is that true, and what does it take to be a good pastry chef?
Being precise is the easy part!
Creating a new dessert is full of trials and errors, until you materialize your vision into flavor, aroma and beauty. In this creative process, you actually have to know your ingredients and how to make them work together, in order to get the dessert of your dreams. This includes a lot of planning, effort, experience, time and knowledge. And that’s the toughest, yet most satisfying, part of being a pastry chef.
You are catering a lot of events. Which one is your favorite so far?
I love catering all of my events. Every single one has a different story to tell and is a unique creative process. We always consult with our clients, making them part of the design journey, so it’s impossible for me to make a choice.
What are the trends right now in terms of patisserie?
My technique is French-oriented.
This is my trend!
And which dessert is your favorite one?
That’s a question I often ask myself. Well, apart from being a pastry chef, I am also a normal human being, with the usual cravings. There are times I crave a chocolate tartlet, and there are times that I would do anything for an éclair with Tahiti vanilla filling. In any case, the dessert has to be freshly made, of exceptional quality, and produced with care and love, like I make them.
Even when you love your job, the extra working hours can be quite tough. How do you recharge?
It is true that we often have endless, sleepless nights of working that leave us all exhausted in the Lab, but satisfied with the result! When these times end, the first thing is to get a good 8hr sleep. Other than that, I love dining with friends, watching a movie, and studying new techniques and recipes. Because time is never enough to do all three, I end up doing the last one.