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Exclusive interview with Chef Jeong Hong Yeon of La Pâtisserie HôTEL DOUCE in Seoul, Republic of Korea
Chef Jeong shares his secret ingredient behind the house specialties adored by locals in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Mar 21, 2022
Team TREHA® @trehalose_sensei
Chef Jeong successfully developed his summer-time specialty, soft serve, which sells more than 200 servings during weekends. Can you guess what is behind his success?
  • Chef Jeong talks about how he came across TREHA® and how he works with it.

  • Chef Jeong explains his creations: Crémet d'Anjou, Brownies, and Soft Serve.

In this blog, we touch on diverse topics about Japanese food cultures, practices together with the culinary secret, TREHA®, and its important role in the Japanese food industry. We hope our blog helps you obtain in-depth knowledge of the secrets and science behind Japanese cuisine, shared from our kitchen, to yours.

Today's blog features Chef Jeong Hong Yeon, one of the most celebrated French pastry chefs in Seoul, based on our interview with the chef in 2014.
Chef Jeong Hong Yeon was born in Republic of Korea in 1969. He is alumnus of ECOLE DE PATISSERIE DE TOKIO. After serving as Executive Pastry Chef at RIHGA Royal Hotel Tokyo, he established a home baking school called L’ECOLE DOUCE in Seoul in 2008. He opened La pâtisserie HÔTEL DOUCE in 2010, which has expanded to four locations. He has authored several cookbooks, including Jeong Hong Yeon’s Home Baking Secret and L’ecole douce’s Bread & Cook." He has been using TREHA® for 20 years, making him one of the most experienced users. His work philosophy is closely tied to how he skillfully uses TREHA® to pursue his ideals.

“While I appreciate innovation, I only keep using items that are beneficial to me.”

Team TREHA®: Please tell us how you came across TREHA® and how you work with it.

Chef Jeong: TREHA® is not very sweet*; thus, adding sweetness is not the primary purpose. Other beneficial functionalities are what I value about TREHA®.
Initially, I used to incorporate a generous amount of TREHA® in my recipes. As my knowledge deepened, I discovered that even a tiny amount of TREHA® makes a significant difference when used strategically. In confectionary items, sugars play a vital role in creating an ideal balance between sweetness, texture, and shelf life. However, the amounts of sugars cannot be adjusted without plans since they impact the sweetness of a product. TREHA® comes in handy to optimize the sweetness while preserving all other desired qualities.

*TREHA® is 38% sweetness of sugar.

“TREHA® is our rescuer to reduce the sweetness while maintaining the desirable qualities in Italian meringue.”

Team TREHA®: We understand “Crémet d'Anjou,” containing Italian meringue and heavy cream, is the most popular item at your shop. Does TREHA® play an essential role in making this item?

Chef Jeong: Crémet d’Anjou is a simple French dessert containing dairy-based ingredients such as Fromage blanc combined with Italian meringue. My customers tell me they never get tired of this house specialty. The crémet d’Anjou features a fresh milk taste and a clean sweetness made possible by TREHA®, a crucial ingredient in Italian meringue. I have noticed lately that many recipes call for less sugar. I stand by this trend; however, many pastry chefs fail to recognize that simply decreasing sugar cannot create ideal products because the smooth texture and stability could be sacrificed. The meringue should follow the classic recipe indicating one part of egg whites and two parts of sugar. In my opinion, blindly cutting down sugar diminishes the quality of Italian meringue by causing rough foams and instability.
TREHA® is our rescuer to reduce the sweetness while maintaining the desirable qualities in Italian meringue.

I adjust the amounts of sugars to obtain the perfect sweetness. For example, if a recipe calls for 120g granulated sugar, I may use 80g of granulated sugar and 40g of TREHA®. I formulate my recipes this way, keeping in mind that TREHA®’s sweetness is approximately one-third of granulated sugar. The next step is to test the recipe multiple times until satisfactory results are achieved. This method helps to satisfy today’s palates while maintaining the characteristics of a classic Italian meringue.
(Click here for Chef Jeong's Crémet d’Anjou recipe.)

Crémet d'Anjou, beautifully crafted by Chef Jeong
Crémet d'Anjou, beautifully crafted by Chef Jeong

Team TREHA®: Do you find TREHA® beneficial when modifying traditional recipes to incorporate modern taste?

Chef Jeong: Exactly. TREHA® has other advantages, such as retaining moisture and improving stability during freezing. TREHA® is particularly beneficial for mousses which underwent in a blast freezer. The mousse maintains its smooth texture after defrosting, thanks to TREHA®’s functionality, making ice crystals into smaller particles in an aqueous solution.

TREHA® also helps to preserve flavor profile. I experienced this functionality firsthand through my cakes, especially those containing cream. The cakes are not necessarily consumed right after production; their journey begins with the display cases and ends at the refrigerators of customers’ homes. After this point, I have no way of knowing how soon the cakes will be consumed. Because of it, I have to do my best to extend the freshness throughout the supply chain. I take this quality control very seriously.

I always make whipped cream in an ice bath to produce high-quality, fresh cream. Still, the freshness inevitably diminishes since the humidity and temperature in the display cases are not explicitly adjusted for the cream. In addition, the cream could pick up various smells from other products, which eventually become off-smell. TREHA® can help slow down the decline of the flavor while maintaining the quality of multiple components, including starch, protein, and fat content.

Team TREHA®: Tell us about the advantages of TREHA® in baked goods, brownies for an example.

Chef Jeong: Brownies are fully baked items featuring the characteristic fudgy texture, which I believe is indispensable. Achieving the consistency requires high sugar content, making the brownies too sweet. To remedy this, I replaced 10% of the granulated sugar with TREHA®. This minor change allows me to create the ideal brownies with fudgy texture and sweetness.

TREHA® also maintains the freshness of products over time. For example, brownies stay moist, prevent oil or fat content from seeping out, and better preserve the fresh chocolate flavor. While the shelf life of baked goods is more extended than perishable products, using TREHA® would provide extra safety and quality boost to them.
(Click here for Chef Jeong's Brownies' recipe.)

Fudgy brownies, created by Chef Jeong
Fudgy brownies, created by Chef Jeong

“I tested the recipes more than 100 times…By using TREHA®, I achieved the ideal soft serve with a melt-in-the-mouth texture and a light sweetness.”

Team TREHA®: While shaved ice is a famous summer treat in Seoul, La pâtisserie HÔTEL DOUCE gave rise to “soft serve” in Seoul last summer. Please tell us the background of the success.

Chef Jeong: Yes, we sell soft serve more than 200 servings during weekends. Shaved ice in the summer is an integral part of food culture in Republic of Korea, but I didn’t think it is a product fit for a pastry chef’s expertise. On the other hand, soft serve is the item that can showcase special skills in crafting vanilla beans and milk or cream. I took a chance by selling the soft serve in Seoul, and it was a big hit. I tested the recipes more than 100 times, seeking the best balance of Tahiti and Madagascar vanilla beans and the quantity of the caramel. By using TREHA®, I achieved the ideal soft serve with a melt-in-the-mouth texture and a light sweetness.

For frozen desserts, I strongly recommend using TREHA®. When I worked at a hotel in Tokyo, I saw staff members scooping out hundreds of ice cream to serve banquets daily. The ice cream made with granulated sugar was solid and had to be thawed at room temperature and stirred, which is an extra step. Ice cream made with TREHA® is soft enough to be scooped right out of the freezer. The same applies to blast-frozen mousses, which can be prepared to serve immediately out of the freezer. It makes sense to use TREHA® when work efficiently matters.
(Click here for Chef Jeong's Vanilla Soft Ice Cream.)

Soft ice cream created by Chef Jeong
Soft ice cream created by Chef Jeong

Team TREHA®: What kind of product would you like to create next?

Chef Jeong: I value precisions when I make confections. I respect traditional recipe creators by fully comprehending the formulation and preparation methods. I am rooted in the philosophy that attention to detail guarantees quality and taste.

Since opening a French pastry shop in Seoul, I have created several original sweets like the crémet d’Anjou incorporating French techniques and Asian ingredients like Yuja (a citrus fruit, yuzu in Japanese), which became successful products with high-quality. TREHA® will continue to help me integrate modern taste into traditional recipes.

I want to continue to introduce modern taste into traditional recipes. I bet TREHA® will be a long-term company for my journey.


93-5, Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu,
Seoul 137-040 Republic of Korea

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