At the New York Hilton Midtown is a Pastry Chef who no one would ever mistake for being uncertain about his career.
Morand Dare has been in kitchens since he worked under his grandfather’s bakery in France. Since then he has established himself as one of the best pastry chefs in the United States, having just been named one of the Top 10 in the United States by Dessert Professional Magazine. Forty-nine years since he entered the business, Mr. Dare still constantly challenges himself and his employees to deliver some of the best pastries in the country.
Morand Dare apprenticed under Patrice Kieny in a pastry shop in the South of France, someone he calls a “good craftsman” who helped him get his start. He shifted around various restaurants in New York City before settling in at the New York Hilton Midtown in 2009. At the New York Hilton Midtown, Mr. Dare has complete creative control over his kitchen, giving way to a competitive and tight knit environment.
“You are only as good as the people under you,” he said. “To succeed you have to challenge the people you work with to make them great”. Morand Dare readily gives advice and helps his young chefs develop skills. “To do otherwise is silly, all of this keeping recipes to yourself is nonsense”. Mr. Dare believes strongly that everything he knows needs to be passed on. “We have come a long way in pastries in my 50 years and we need to continue growing”. This is a sharp turn from many chefs who closely guard their recipes and secrets from others. Mr. Dare seemed tired of this way of thinking and sees knowledge as something to be shared to make those around him better chefs.
The freedom to choose what comes into his kitchen means shopping at the market for seasonal ingredients to reflect his menu. He sticks to two or three suppliers he likes, building loyalty in exchange for quality ingredients. However, it also means going the extra mile in his own kitchen, like making in-house chocolate to incorporate into his desserts. Morand Dare said, “I am not comfortable doing the same thing. I have to challenge myself”. That motivation comes from love for the business. “I started doing this 49 years ago…May 6th 1967. If I did not love it I would not be doing it”.
His freedom to choose and his location in midtown, at the center of competitive cooking means Morand Dare is quite happy where he is. When asked where he saw himself five to ten years from now, he replied “right here, I am happy where I am. I have the freedom to choose what I want to do and I am very happy here”. He has no desire to do TV or books and that he prefers to stick to his craft in the kitchen. He also has no desire to share his knowledge in a book, seemingly preferring to pass it on to his kitchen staff at the New York Hilton Midtown. In a big ego business where large personalities seem to dominate the landscape, Morand Dare is confident but reserved, highly skilled but humble and overall appreciative of where he is. With no plans to leave the Hilton, Mr. Dare continues to impress everyone with his pastries but also his unique attitude toward his kitchen, his industry and his craft.