Angelo Musa

Interview: World Pastry Champion Angelo Musa on staying true to his Italian heritage

Award-winning chef Angelo Musa has been named both Best Craftsman of France and World Pastry Champion during the course of his illustrious career. The Executive Chef at La Galerie at Dorchester Collection’s Hotel Plaza Athénée has long wowed diners in the French capital with his refined all-day dining menu and his famous afternoon tea.

Supper sat down with the chef to talk about the chefs that inspire him, his Italian heritage and making risotto for his kids.



Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Nancy, a city I came back to a few years ago to settle down with my family. My Italian heritage from my father is strong and I spend all my summer holidays in Italy, visiting family and friends, and I also work tirelessly to pass on this legacy to my children.

When did you first fall in love with pâtisserie?
I started out in a hospitality school and enjoyed cooking; at that point I was unaware that pâtisserie could be a job by itself. A motorbike accident caused me to redirect my studies and take up the pastry path, and it was love at first sight… a never ending one.

How would you describe your pastry style?
Textures to narrate the soul of a dessert, taste to touch the heart.

I work with various textures using the same produce to provide different perspectives, unleashing an ingredient’s full potential to explore a full new range of possibilities. If the art of craftsmanship’s aspiration is to trigger an emotion, it is first and foremost the expression of a savoir-faire that I take pleasure in translating with authenticity and sobriety, whilst audacity relies on the details.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
Allow yourself to dream in order to achieve. There is no such thing as failure, always question yourself, keep learning with an open> mind and dare to be ambitious. It does take time and work, but it will eventually happen!

What’s your favourite dish on the menu at La Galerie at Dorchester Collection’s Hotel Plaza Athénée?
At La Galerie, it would be the Croque-Plaza with chicken, Comté cheese, black truffle, romaine and homemade bread from our bakery team led by Julien Lefevre. It’s a hearty meal that can be devoured at any point during the day, and it has the power to fulfil any type of craving!

What is your vision for La Galerie?
At the Hotel Plaza Athénée, I oversee the bakery and pastry kitchens that serve up desserts matching the identity of La Galerie, Le Relais, Jean Imbert’s restaurant or room service: each has its own individual concept. Yet a common thread runs through everything – prioritising taste above everything else. Our objective is to respect the produce while working seasonally and using various techniques to showcase surprising new flavour combinations. We aim to convey generosity, bringing joy to our guests through our dedication.

Which chefs have inspired you?
First and foremost, Monsieur Bourguignon, who was my apprenticeship supervisor when I entered pâtisserie. To this day, I still feel lucky and grateful to have had such an amazing and supportive person who saw the potential in me and helped to reveal it.

There were many chefs who paved the way for my career. Among those who had major impact such as Olivier Bajard’s mesmerising work or Pascal Caffet, who took me under his wing in order to achieve the most prestigious titles such as Best Craftsman of France and World Pastry Champion.

What else inspires you?
My parents. My mom and dad worked hard to give my brother and myself a good education, good values in work and in life.

Pâtisserie continues to be my muse. Every day I genuinely enjoy working in the pastry lab with the team, striving to uncover new techniques, designing new visuals, creating, producing…  It’s enlivening!

What is your approach to sustainability in your baking?
Sustainability is a daily discipline starting with reducing wastage of water, production planning and so on. We try our best to source produce locally, focusing on ingredients that are in season and at their peak. Sustainability is a task we are all responsible for.

What would you like your next project to be?
I’m not one to plan. I try to embrace challenges and opportunities, and that’s how I have  always envisioned and lived my life. At the moment, I am content and grateful. I feel blessed  to have stumbled into pâtisserie, where I have found such blessings and happiness since day one. We’ll see soon enough what’s around the corner.

What is it that you enjoy about working in hotel kitchens?
Being surrounded with a team made of various profiles, skills, and talents; it’s invigorating. We all strive together in bringing out the best for our guests. I firmly believe that such a task can only be achieved in a good work environment, and as the saying goes “be serious without taking yourself seriously.” On another note, working at Hotel Plaza Athénée also means working with the most exceptional produce, which is a great opportunity for a  pastry chef.

What is your favourite dish, and who cooks it?
My favourite dish is risotto and at home I’m the one who does the cooking. Italian food is one of my favourite cuisines. It’s warm and comforting, using basics but high-quality produce – the perfect combo. My children’s favourite is chorizo and mushroom risotto. You’re welcome at our table, I always make extra portions!

Image: ©studiodesfleurs