My mate Garon is a pleasure chef — oh, I mean, pastry chef. He specializes in croissants.
“Why would I spend $5 on a croissant when I can get one from 50 cents at the supermarket” you may ask, as Garon once overheard a man asking his partner as they walked past his market stall.
The chocolate glistens and oozes its warmth onto our fingers, plonking ungracefully onto our plates.
“People think I’m just doing it on the side. That it’s just a hobby.”
But like many other artisans, Garon is extraordinarily skilled. And extraordinarily underrated.
Many people don’t realize Garon is an experienced pastry chef — and has been for more than 10 years. He studied it — and has had training at one of Melbourne’s premium chocolate stores.
So you see, he’s not your average home kitchen baker. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — there are many brilliant home bakers.
Well, perhaps you’ve gathered by now: Garon’s croissants are special. And they’re obviously not for everyone.
I’ve never seen — or eaten — anything like his croissants.
We relish the golden crispiness on the outside and the oh-so-soft inside, marvelling at the defined layers of golden buttery pastry.
With just one product, Garon hones his skills. He makes it all from scratch. Focusing on how it works rather than just following a recipe. He plays with the ingredients and the method.
Garon experiments with the process. Obsessively.
He decided to make his own chocolate ganache to keep the chocolate soft compared to the usual hard couverture chocolate you find in the average chocolate croissant.
He adds a bar of chocolate ganache into the croissant.
My brain goes wild at the sight of this bar of gold melted, gleaming enticingly in my croissant. At the strong smell of chocolate.
Garon has had thousands of hours of practice. Making thousands of croissants.
It’s labor-intensive work. Time-consuming. Delicate. Precise.
Our tongues orgasm at the touch of the luscious, silky, warm, smooth flowing ganache.
“Why did you choose to make croissants?” I asked him.
“Not many people are doing it here in Australia. And I might as well make something that stands out.”
He sources as many products as possible locally. The milk and butter are from St David Dairy in Fitzroy, a suburb within inner city Melbourne. I was excited to hear of a dairy so close to the city. Glad to know he was using them. And proud to be supporting more than 1 local with my purchase.
My daughter and I laugh at each other in wonder and delight as we slowly relish our half of the croissant.
Why we need to eat mindfully
In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget to eat mindfully.
We grab an apple on our way out the door in the morning. We scoff down a donut and coffee in the afternoon as we scurry back to the office. We devour dinner in front of the tv.
Garon’s skillfully crafted croissants remind us how to eat mindfully.
His luscious croissants and all we know about them compels us to savor every bite. Every smell. Every texture. Every detail.
Garon’s croissants remind us that it’s important to know where our food comes from. Who made it. Why they make it. And how they make it.
The story behind a croissant I would usually just devour mindlessly has highlighted how lazy and disrespectful I have been with my food. With my body. My mind. And my life.
And this doesn’t happen just with food. When we’re in a hurry, we’re not mindful about many other parts of our lives.
We hear but don’t truly listen to our colleagues. We exercise while we’re watching tv on the treadmill. We drive while we’re texting our mates.
Let’s slow down the constantly spinning mice wheel.
Let’s stop the mindlessness.
Instead, make a conscious effort to understand why we do what we do.
Be there — really there, in every part of our day. With every person. In every experience, no matter how mundane.
Only then can we realize what we’ve been missing.
Only then can we savor what we’ve never savored before.
Only then can we live meaningfully in the present — rather than the future or the past.
Perhaps we’ll be more grateful.
Perhaps we’ll be more purposeful.
And perhaps we’ll find true happiness can come from simply eating a croissant — mindfully.
I scrape every bit of flaky pastry from my plate with my fingers. My daughter goes one step further: she licks the plate.
Garon Pearce and his orgasmic croissants can be found most weekends at markets across Melbourne. Stalk him on Instagram (by Garon).