“Ooh La La!” These are the words that one utters without thought when first presented with one of Rebecca Disini’s stunning mirror cakes. Aptly so, it also happens to be the name of her new confectionary business that centers around colorful entremets—multi-layered mousse-based cakes that highlight complementary flavors of varying textural contrast. Studded with edible fresh florals and herbs, every single one of Rebecca’s creations is a work of art. A professional chef who has worked in restaurant and commercial kitchens around the world, Rebecca received her culinary training at both Le Cordon Bleu in London and Paris, and holds the Grand Diplôme, having had comprehensive training in both cuisine and pastry.
I have been in the food industry for almost two decades, lived in six countries, and have been influenced by many chefs. Since my recent shift to pastry from cuisine, I have been shaped by the chefs of Le Cordon Bleu Paris, chefs Nicolas Jordan, Pascal Quere, Daniel Walter, Jean Francois Deguignet, Daniel Bertrand, Olivier Mahut, and Xavier Cotte, as well as Chef Cedric Grolet of Le Meurice.
My pastries are a reflection of my personality, inspirations, favorite people, travels and mood. Since I am French-trained, I use classical French techniques in the kitchen. I put a lot of effort into aesthetics since we eat with our eyes first but I also put emphasis on flavor and texture. I use only the best ingredients and do everything from scratch, no shortcuts. I usually envision a flavor palate, create a recipe, and run a few tests in the kitchen to see if the recipe’s structure is sound. I test with hand-carried ingredients from Paris, use this as my benchmark, then localize it with ingredients that are available here.
I am classified as a “supertaster.” For years I have been taking organoleptic (sensory) tests for the food companies I have worked for. Each and every time, I would make only one or two mistakes so I am able to experience a far greater sense of taste than average. I also have a very strong sense of smell, so you can only imagine the pros and cons of having those gifts!
San Sebastian is my favorite culinary town but Paris really does have the best pastries. Ble Sucre has the flakiest croissants in the whole of Paris, the “Noisette” of chef Cedric Grolet of Le Meurice was so delicious and a work of art that it made me want to do my stage there, and another favorite of mine is the Vanilla Grand Cru of La Patisserie des Reves in Rue du Bac.
I have been buying my culinary and pastry equipment at E. Dehillerin in Paris for two decades now. Everything you are looking for can be found there. The same can be said, however, of Sia Huat Trading in Singapore.
Ingredients come and go in my kitchen. I like to work with the season and this dictates on what I have at home. As for tools, I treasure my copper pans, a present from my parents when I finished my studies at Le Cordon Bleu London in 2001. I also cherish this Alaskan knife a very dear friend of mine gave me. I haven’t used it yet because it didn’t come with the proper round-bottomed chopping board, so that is on my wish list.
My daughter, Natalia, has been helping me in the kitchen since she was three. She dreams about food the way I do and I know this because I hear her talk in her sleep. We lived in Thailand for 4 years, so when we settled back in Manila, it took her a while to eat the fruits and vegetables here because she could detect the nuances in flavor, color, and texture. Whenever I would cook Thai food at home, she would say things like “the garlic and basil do not taste the same” or “the sticky rice does not have the same shape or texture.” That was when I knew she could be my first taste-tester. [email protected]