At the opening of the second Dominique Ansel Bakery in Tokyo yesterday, chef Ansel unveiled a new dessert created specifically for the new location, the Zero Gravity Chiffon Cake. The cake itself is light enough to float inside a balloon, which you'll have to pop before you get to eat the cake.
The new DAB, inside Tokyo's massive Mitsukoshi Ginza department store, will carry all of Ansel's signature baked goods and pastries, along with a few special treats created especially for the new location. These will include a black sugar DKA (Ansel’s very popular take on the kouign amann), a puppy-shaped roasted tomato hot dog bun and the aforementioned zero gravity cake.
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Many of us think of Ansel as the Willy Wonka of the pastry world. However, when we spoke to him recently, Ansel stressed that simplicity is key when it comes to the dishes he creates. "I don’t work in a kitchen where we work with molecular gastronomy or anything like that," he explains. "We just work with simple ingredients and tools and the most important thing is to think of the ideas. Having simple food and good food, that’s what is important to me."
Ansel also emphasized the importance of tapping into people's emotions with his creations, and you can definitely see that in his work. Consider the Frozen S'more and First Heartbreak, along with his new Zero Gravity Chiffon Cake. "When you work in retail like I do now, you don’t have a chance to tell the stories," he explains. "To me, it’s like the pastries are the stars of a silent movie and they don’t have the opportunity to express themselves. So it’s very important for me to find ways to deliver emotion or a story when you receive those dishes."
Next up for Ansel is his full-fledged Los Angeles restaurant, which is set to open later this year. When asked about developing a full menu for the new restaurant, Ansel explained that he's eagerly seeking out inspiration, regardless of where it comes from. "It’s not about a certain type of cuisine or the stereotype of putting yourself in a category," he says. "It’s more about thinking out of the box and seeing what’s out there around the world and having a connection with the guest."