“I try to be the best all the time, I have a bit of a competitive spirit” | EUROtoday

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NOTDon't inform Nina Métayer that it's not possible, she’s going to attempt to show you mistaken. And she's going to get there! From being “good at nothing” as a baby, she went from being “the best pastry chef in the world” to 35 years outdated. A stunning success that makes multiple salivate. She has no massive head or spirit of revenge. And but, Nina Métayer needed to “fight” to get there.

She welcomes us into her laboratory, in Issy-les-Moulineaux, with full simplicity. Jeans, sneakers and a white kitchen jacket embroidered along with his identify. It's tea time, which suggests the beginning of the night for the enterprise supervisor who often begins her days at 4 a.m. From his raspy little voice and the few chocolate stains that dot his shirt, we suspect that it has been an extended day. But Nina at all times has a smile beneath her dimples and a machine-gun move.

Stoves, workplace, TV… Nina Métayer is all over the place

In the kitchens on the bottom ground, dozens of pastries had been made that very morning, already dispatched to the Ile-de-France assortment factors*. Her retailer, La Délicatisserie, is simply digital. A slightly considered concept that she launched after the Covid epidemic – resulting from lack of sources – and which permits her to solely produce what she sells, and likewise to not waste.

READ ALSO Meet Corinne Maier: “It’s up to women to make things happen!” » Hyperactive, she is all over the place directly – within the kitchen, within the workplace, on tv (you could have seen her on M6 in Top chef), on social networks – however by no means alone. Besides, she at all times says “we”. “We” is the corporate (round thirty staff) and the household – which is just about the identical factor. Her husband, Mathieu Salomé – who pops in to get the boss to signal a paper – is normal supervisor, her cousin is operations director, her sister Paloma takes care of communications, her mom is in command of editorial, her father is in command of web site… “It wasn’t me who won the title, we won the title,” she corrects.

I used to be a bit garbage at every part, I didn't see any expertise in myself.

Was baking slightly woman’s dream? ” No way. It's completely a coincidence! » She would never have imagined this destiny, even “not a quarter” of this path. She grew up between La Rochelle and Strasbourg, with her two little sisters, a journalist mother and a developer father, who were once culinary critics. Their common passion: “Eat well and be together.” » At home, Nina, the eldest, enjoys hearty dishes made by others – very few desserts – but leaves the stove behind. “There were already a lot of people in the kitchen. » She does not say like her sister that she will one day be a chef (Pandora Métayer was the first female chef alongside William Ledeuil, at Kitchen Ter(re)).

At school, she let herself be carried away without much motivation: “I was a bit bad at everything, I didn't see any skills in myself. I didn't ask myself too many questions, but I understood that it was going to be complicated for me, the future…” At 14, {the teenager} spent quite a lot of time chatting along with his boyfriend on the telephone and, someday, his dad and mom chastise him due to a very hefty invoice. “How do you intend to repay that?” » asks his mom.

Proud, she units out to work. It was within the markets of La Rochelle that she found the style for effort and the love of a job effectively carried out. One of her pals helps her dad and mom within the markets, she sneaks in behind the apple and pear stalls. Getting up at daybreak, working within the chilly, carrying crates, it stings, however towards all odds, he likes it. “I discovered that I love working! » The teenager will only have that on her mind: after school, during weekends or on vacation, she looks after children, sells pancakes, ice cream, etc.

I weighed 45 kg, the bag of flour 50 kg… For me, it wasn't a problem.

Then, at 16, she left for Mexico “on a whim”. Her dad and mom assist her, the journey continues to be supervised by the Rotary Club. Barely again, she needs to go away with the undertaking of opening a bakery within the land of the Mayans. She has by no means made bread, by no means thoughts! His dad and mom, at all times very understanding, principally advised him: “Banco, but pass your general baccalaureate first! » With her diploma in hand, she enrolled in a CAP bakery course and confidently looked for an employer for her apprenticeship. And there, unfortunately, she is made to understand that she does not have… “the build of a baker”.

“I weighed 45 kg, the bag of flour 50 kg… They didn’t really understand how I was going to do it. For me it wasn't a problem. » We offer him places on sale, but not in the oven. “At the time, there were no girls in bakeries, apart from bakers' daughters who took over the shop out of obligation. »

Denis Baron, a baker from La Rochelle, gave him a chance. And transmits his passion to him. “I realize that bread is great! With very few ingredients, we can bring the material to life. Every day I learn, I do better, and every day my bread is more beautiful. There is immediate satisfaction, the result is seen quickly. And this object that we have created, we can share it… What pride to bring your wand back to the people you love! It is magic. » The young woman gains confidence: “Hey, maybe I’m competent in something! ” she says to herself.

“Neither meticulous nor patient”

After a small foray into Australia, the place she started making wood-fired pizza, she met her future husband at 21 and appeared for work in Paris. In useless. Still no ladies within the career at first of the 2010s, then she found one other, unstated purpose: generally it's the baker's spouse who doesn't need ladies in her home…

HER IDEAL SUNDAY: In her country house in Normandy, with her husband, Mathieu, Anastasia, 6 years old, and Adèle, 3 years old. “After a big breakfast, I prepare a pastry workshop for the girls. At lunchtime, we eat beef bourguignon that I cooked the day before. It's all about the food! » And if she has any energy left, Nina Métayer goes for a little solo run.

His mother advised him to continue training at the Ferrandi school. Pastry doesn't really interest her – plus Nina Métayer is “in no way candy” – but her challenging side and her mother's advice (“Do what you need in crafting however be the perfect!”) push it towards excellence. “I was neither thorough nor patient. » She improves every day and works at the same time in a local bakery to finish at the top of her class. She's not passionate about it, it's very repetitive, but she really “wants to succeed”: “I try to be the best all the time! I have a bit of a competitive spirit, though…” she admits, laughing.

Tired of garnishing macaroons and éclairs all day, she aims for “the beautiful places”. Even before the end of her CAP, at just 22 years old, she was taken to Meurice, Yannick Alléno era. It is Camille Lesecq, the pastry chef of the Parisian palace, who passes on his art to him. The clerk is drooling and often finds herself crying, hidden in the cold room. We perceive her as “a nag”. “It was hard because I was terrible! she judges today. I didn't even know how to make a custard or whip a meringue… But I like it when it's hard. » She puts the work back into practice, learns from her mistakes, discovers the rules in the brigade and she doesn't mind: “I like obeying! I generally is a little bit of a mulehead, however I’m very disciplined. »

READ ALSO Meeting with Mireille Dumas: “I didn’t really feel the necessity to carry my youngster” After two years, she “turned in circles” and left for the Raphaël resort with a part of the group, the place she turned chef. She created her first desserts, together with an unique floating island, ranked 3e dish of the yr in a gastronomic journal. This is the start of fame. Then Jean-François Piège requested him to open the Grand Restaurant: “a huge opportunity”. And additionally quite a lot of sacrifices for the one who has simply gotten married. Piège transmits creativity, the “detail of the gesture”. She turned Pastry Chef of the Year in 2016 and 2017.


Two years later, Nina was on the transfer once more and tried her luck in a global group, Café Pouchkine, the place she mentioned she encountered a “glass ceiling”. After a brief expertise as “boss” of a consulting agency in London, stopped by Covid, she misplaced all her contracts and returned to France.

The younger mom shortly took on a brand new problem: turning into the primary lady Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF). She ready and educated for 3 years like a prime athlete. A silence, Nina Métayer lowers her eyes. “They didn't like my chocolate-olive dessert, which is a best-seller at our house. They have the right… Failure is one of the possibilities,” she philosophizes. Failure, in his career, is a part of on a regular basis life. As lengthy as you begin once more and do higher the following day.

The competitor by no means offers up. Failing to win the MOF competitors, she would be the first lady topped finest pastry chef on the planet, in October 2023.

It was as a result of these males advised me that I couldn't do it that I labored extra.

A pleasant snub to these males – there have been some – who didn't imagine in her. “I have a lot of goodwill towards all this, I don’t blame people. We have to go in the same direction, the idea is not to go to war,” she moderates. Before remembering: “They sent some very ugly things in my face, all the same…” We insist. For instance ? “You’re a woman, you have nothing to do in the kitchen! » ; “You are all crybabies, fit to marry and have children!” » ; “Women are not meant to be professionals, you will never be able to manage a brigade! » ; “You are good at listening to orders and not giving them”… Nina Métayer doesn’t intend to criticize the authors, not the style. In any case, these macho ideas didn’t sluggish her down.

“Precisely, they made me need to show them mistaken! It's as a result of these males advised me that I couldn't do it that I labored extra, it's as a result of they didn't need to give me sure positions that I needed to work extra… And by working extra, effectively there you go, I've handed a few of them! » she laughs in the present day.

*at Printemps du Goût, 59 Rue de Caumartin (Paris ninth), at Halles Biltoki, in Issy-les-Moulineaux and in its laboratory, in Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Every Sunday, Point has Meeting with well-known and lesser-known personalities from the world of tradition, tv, cinema, gastronomy, sport, enterprise… They participate within the sport of intimate interviews, telling us about their journey, generally strewn with pitfalls, give us some confidences and provides us their imaginative and prescient of society.