Cronut® Creator Dominique Ansel Reveals His Greatest Chef Influences - Exclusive

Most crazes come and go, but after a decade since its creation, the Cronut® is here to stay. Chef Dominque Ansel, the creator of the treat, ensured its status as New York's go-to pastry by coming up with a revolving slate of Cronut® flavor combos and never repeating the same flavor twice. By keeping his offerings new and exclusive year-round, Ansel has made sure that people keep talking about — and eating — the Cronut®.

Ansel is an innovative trailblazer in his own right, but every successful chef has inspirations and other chefs in the industry they admire and look up to, and it's no different for him. Ansel spoke to Mashed to promote his work as a City Harvest Food council member and his fundraising event for the organization's Share Lunch Fight Hunger campaign. During the conversation, the pastry chef also revealed his influences, the chefs he'd most like to collaborate with, and which chef he would most love to cook him a meal — and he even detailed an idea for a cooking challenge on TV.

Ansel's perfect pastry collaborations

Everyone loves a good chef team-up. When it comes to the pastry chefs that Ansel looks up to, and those he wants to collab with, he said, "I look up to Pierre Hermé in Paris. He was, at the time when I first started in the industry (a little bit before 2000), one of the first ones that [was] really innovating in terms of [the] presentation of the pastries: The combination of flavors, the texture of the pastries." Noting his friendship with Hermé, Ansel added, "He is a friend of mine. I would love to do something with him."

Hermé isn't the only chef Ansel wants to work with. "Other than that, a collaboration with Amaury Guichon, [who] is a chef based in Las Vegas, [and a] good friend of mine as well," he elaborated. "Cédric Grolet from Paris, who I've done a collab as well [with] here in New York, and all of them [are] very successful. It's always fun to see our friends and fellow chefs come here and do things together." And really the sky's the limit for what these chefs could do together.

Restaurant bucket list

When it comes to the one chef that Ansel wants to cook dinner for him, he said, "There [are] many, and I love food. I love eating stuff. I love Dominique Crenn. She's a friend of mine. I haven't tried her food yet, and I would love to go to San Francisco and try her food." Ansel is a busy guy, so he hasn't made it to her restaurant just yet. But it's definitely on his agenda. "I haven't had a chance yet to go, but it's on my list for sure. She's an unbelievable chef and friend and person in general. I love who she is [and] what she does. I would love to try her food."

The world of TV baking is reaching an all-time high, too, especially with streaming services and shows like, "Is It Cake?" as well as the engineering-infused show, "Baking Impossible." Ansel himself has some thoughts on a good show or challenge idea for the world of TV baking. "I have been invited to be a guest chef and judge [for] different shows. It's always a matter of having the right show and having enough time for myself to go there and do those things," he said. "I have a lot of ideas for a challenge. I'll give you one. I think it'll be cool to have a challenge with zero gravity. Either you have to eat or build a cake in zero gravity. I think it'll be very difficult, but very fun to watch." This pitch sounds absolutely chaotic, and we're so here for it. Netflix, we hope you are listening.

The Share Lunch Fight Hunger campaign will run until June 3, and donations can be made here.