Photo credit: Agnese Gambini
Andrea De Bellis opened his eponymous pastry shop in central Rome in March and he hasn’t stopped innovating. Rome’s most creative pastry chef, whose 1000foglie bar and savory sandwiches are part of my daily regimen, chatted with Parla Food about how he got started and what inspires him.
PF: Describe your work and how it came about:
ADB: I’m a pastry chef, and the pastries I make are a little bit classical, maybe with some twist. It’s some typical French pastries, some classics from Italy, and maybe some new ingredients. But usually the ingredients are very typical. I’m not trying to push too much on the modern side because here in Rome people usually like the usual combinations.
I was interested in cooking since I was a kid. I tried to cook in one way or another, not very well! But the thing I appreciate very much is the aesthetic and the beauty of pastry. It’s not art but I think it is near to art. It’s possible to link all the senses in just one little thing. You can look at it, touch it, smell it, and it tastes good. I started to try to be a pastry chef eight years ago. I took a course just to see if it would suit me. I enjoyed it and then I started to buy books.
What inspires you?
When you see something that catches your eye, you metabolize it and then you use it in your own work. Every impulse that comes from a movie, a painting, or whatever, you process. Here in Rome it’s so easy to take inspiration if you just take a walk and look at the architecture.
What profession would you most like to try?
I like painting and drawing very much. Anything where I could use my hands.
What profession would you not like to try?
Something at a desk. Also I’m not very good at dealing with people sometimes, so I could not do public relations.
Who do you respect most?
In my field, there are a lot of people who are not on the stage, but are very great pastry chefs. A friend of mine is a master, but he is not famous. I respect all people who work hard and are patient about what they’re doing.
What is your favorite food?
Candy! Twix, jellybeans, all kinds! When I go into a candy shop, I totally lose direction.
What characteristic do you appreciate most in others?
Would you like to add anything?
It is difficult, because even if I make things not too aggressive, it is a new kind of pastry for Rome. Sometimes people are searching for the very classical. I’ve seen a lot of things, and I’m still trying to categorize them and see what goes best with what. I’m still studying. It’s like the difference between the one who plays the piano and the one who writes the music. I’m still reading the notes.
Pasticceria Andrea De Bellis is located in Piazza del Paradiso in Rome.