Meet Marius Dogaru - Pastry chef behind Good Morning Hampers
We invited our GOOD friend and master pastry chef behind Good Morning Liverpool, to sit down with us before our exclusive Christmas collaboration! We talk pastries, Paris, inspiration and what makes Liverpool so special. Check out our interview below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, how & when did you start your craft? What inspired you?
A few years ago, I visited my brother in Paris and he was working in a patisserie. Seeing how the magic happens in a French patisserie inspired me to change my career and become a pastry chef.
The smell of fresh bread, the different techniques they were using and the beautiful flavours captivated my attention and for me it was like a 'this is what I am meant to do' moment.
Shortly after, I decided to move to Paris, in August 2014, after ending my football career.
You spent time in Paris training as a pastry chef, what was that like? What were your favourite parts? Any special memories?
Normally, a pastry chef starts training in France when they are in college. I was 20 years old and these guys already knew what they were doing, so I needed to catch up with them.
I got a job as a tourier/ pastry chef and I had to teach myself most of the time, I was asking questions, looking at what my colleagues were doing and just practising a lot. I was making around 1000 pastries... a day! And it was not a case of quantity over quality because we were delivering to really important hotels and customers, so the products had to be top quality.
I was learning fast, I had to. I made mistakes and I learned from them, but this helped me a lot in my journey.
I was waking up at 3am as everything had to be freshly baked and I was working 70 hours per week, but I had to keep motivating myself. On my short walk to the bakery I would hear people partying and living their life, whilst I knew that I had to focus on working hard and becoming better at my job.
My favourite parts of Paris are Montmartre, especially the breathtaking views from Sacre Couer and I also love Palais de Versailles, the architecture and the art is amazing there.
I think Paris changed my life in so many ways and the most special moment was when my girlfriend decided to move over to be with me. I remember the first time she visited me, we talked about her coming over but I wasn't sure if she would actually do it. Before she flew back home, she left me a note saying 'I'll always come back to you'. She moved to Paris 2 weeks later and we're still together now.
Did you come straight to Liverpool after Paris? What made you choose to move to Merseyside?
After Paris, we both went back to Bucharest for a month, before deciding to move to Liverpool.
My girlfriend's parents were living here already and we wanted a new experience, so we thought 'why not?', let's join them and see what happens.
I remember finding an artisanal bakery online and I sent them an email asking if they were looking for a pastry chef.
This is a funny moment, I was still quite young and my future boss at the time called me in for what I thought was just going to be an interview, but when I got there he said to me 'Ok, are you ready? Let's go, show me what you can do!'. He did hire me and I am thankful for the opportunity given and the experience gained.
Your pastries are stunning! They are all so unique - how do you come up with the different flavours & designs?
I like to play with different colours and flavours, which I come up with when I feel inspired. I also get ideas from watching different pastry chefs online or reading recipes from several books.
I usually change the design slightly every time and experiment with different jams, creams and fillings.
I don't complicate things too much, I believe it's important that when I do add new flavours, I also maintain the classic taste of croissant, it's all about finding a balance.
"The independent businesses make Liverpool unique as well, everyone is so passionate about what they do, it's impossible not to get inspired."
The quality of the pastries is amazing, these are really special products! What goes on behind the scenes? What is in them that makes them so special?
Quality Butter & French Flour. I think these 2 ingredients have to be specially chosen and are the most important for my products.
I would dare say that the perfect product does not exist when talking about croissants, but that's not what's important. I am not looking for perfection, I am looking to provide an experience, a special product that people will remember.
The pastries I make for the Good Morning project are handmade. Picture this: I am mixing, rolling and folding them by hand. No machinery used, except for the oven (I haven't yet figured out how to bake a croissant in my hand).
Behind the scenes is a combination between seriousness, creativity and a bit of mad moments: will the pastries grow enough, will the outside be crispy enough, will the inside be soft and airy? These are all questions I ask myself when creating the special product.
We often find that our partner collaborators are talking about their products so much all day that they don’t supply their own shelves with it - the shoemaker has holes in his shoes, so to speak! Do you eat a lot of pastries at home?
This saying is true!
I don't really eat many pastries at home, it's mainly tastings for the products I make. I much prefer to let customers, friends or family be the final judges.
We are all about supporting our neighbours and local independents, if you could give any advice to other makers & traders, what would it be?
Work hard and trust your vision. The rest will follow.
Being a Liverpool based marketplace, what do you think makes Liverpool so special?
It is a really welcoming place, everyone is super friendly and nice wherever you go.
The independent businesses make Liverpool unique as well, everyone is so passionate about what they do, it's impossible not to get inspired.
There is a variety of restaurants, which I love and also the views at night around the Albert Dock - amazing!