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In September, celebrity pastry chef Dominique Ansel opened a London outpost of his eponymous bakery, which already has locations in New York and Tokyo.
As the inventor of the croissant/donut hybrid that spawned a thousand imitations, Ansel is no stranger to success. “On opening day, there were more than 200 people in line before we opened our doors,” said Ansel. “Locals from the neighborhood, people from London and across the world, even some of our fans from New York came for the opening.”
The Cronut is probably the single thing most responsible for Ansel’s current hectic travel schedule, and as a result, he spends a lot of time bouncing between bakeries on his favorite airlines — Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.
“Just this year, I’ve been to Japan and London each four times, and I’m getting ready to head back to London in a few weeks for our very first holiday season. We’re a smaller company than most people might think and our teams are like family to me; it’s not about being hands-off.”
While mileage hounds are probably salivating at the earning potential of Ansel’s constant long-haul schedule, they might want to look away — Ansel only recently started banking his miles: “I’m slowly learning. Someone on my team is really into points and miles, so she’s teaching me. I just got Global Entry, so that’s a start.”
Better late than never, which is exactly what we say when we finally get to the front of the line at Dominique Ansel Bakery for a Cronut. Here’s a look at five things the popular pastry chef never travels without.
1. Slip-on Chef Shoes by Vans
“When you’re on your feet all day in the kitchen and running up and down the stairs, you always need a good pair of comfortable no-slip shoes. A few months ago, we served dessert at the fifth anniversary party for our friends at The Dutch, and Vans created these sneakers for all the chefs cooking that night. They’re super light and comfortable, so I’ve been wearing them in and out of the kitchen. When traveling, they’re easy to slip on and off at airport security.”
2. Berocca (Vitamin C)
“A little pick-me-up during the early mornings and busy workdays. Berocca has become a little tradition surrounding our openings when everyone has been working long hours during the final stretch. In London, our wonderful task force manager, Alex, went around making sure everyone in the front- and back-of-the-house was getting their daily dose of Vitamin C each morning.”
3. My iPad
“Before heading off on a long flight, I try to download a few movies to watch on my iPad. It’s nice to just unplug from work, even if it’s just for a few hours, and sit back and catch up on movies and TV.”
4. Samsonite Carry-on
“When I was at Fauchon years ago in France, the very first piece of luggage that I ever bought for myself was a Samsonite suitcase. I remember back then thinking I spent a lot, and now years later, I still have one that I always travel with.”
5. Lightning Battery Charger
“When you have baker’s hours, mornings start very early, and even if I’m traveling for work to Tokyo or London, I still have the habit of waking up around 4:00am or 5:00am to head to the bakery. But wherever I am, I’m always staying in touch with our teams on the ground, whether it’s through email, Skype, calls or texts, so having a back-up phone battery becomes really handy.”
What are five things you never travel without? Let us know in the comments, below.
Featured image courtesy of Thomas Schauer.
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