Host Profile: Chef Arbel of BYWOOPS!
BYWOOPS is a quaint, colorful bake shop based in New York City, offering DIY macaron classes to kids, adults, and anyone with a good sense of fun and adventure. At the helm is Chef Arbel, a French-trained mastermind who whips up their picturesque cookies like a machine -- and then some. Formerly serving in the army, Arbel found her calling as a pastry chef. Read on for her story and sage advice!
To sign up for a macaron class taught by the one and only, click here.
Tell us more about yourself: what inspired you to pursue pastry and get into the culinary world?
Chef Arbel’s profound culinary journey started back in her childhood as she was inspired by all her family’s delicious food she was always surrounded by. She decided to pursue her passion for cooking after serving in the army and realized she had the skills necessary to turn her passion into a career. Arbel has worked with various master chefs in the world. All these years, she has cooked with her two main values, technique and quality. In 2013, she moved to France to attend Institut Paul Bocuse. Known as one of the most honored chefs in France, Paul Bocuse made extraordinary innovations towards French cuisine that served as inspirations for generations to come. Throughout this time, Arbel was able to develop her skills working in various types of restaurants and deepened her knowledge on diverse aspects of the culinary industry. She continued her culinary journey as being a line cook at three Michelin star restaurant Maison Troisgros at Roan, France. In June 2016, Arbel wanted to venture out and bring her culinary practices to New York City. She first worked as a head pastry chef at an artisanal restaurant and then opened RDV harlem with Chef Kfir Ben Ari. After numerous restaurant experiences, Arbel now works as the executive pastry chef at FoodArt bakery which is a different atmosphere but loves the freedom of being artistic and crafting new pastries.
What is something most people don't know about being a baker?
The kitchen is always spot clean after all the work. Nothing bothers a baker more than a dirty kitchen.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to continue traveling the world throughout my life and learn the food culture everywhere! I hope to never stop growing as a chef and learn authentic recipes from every part of the world. As I learn, I also want to pass down my secrets. Through different foods in culture, people are able to connect in a special way and learn a lot about one another. No matter where you're from, food brings happiness to everyone.
What were the most meaningful moments in your business thus far?
Moving to New York has to be the most meaningful moment in my chef career. It was definitely a challenging transition but at the same time, I have been exposed to a whole different side of the food culture which is amazing. Moving to NYC has been so impactful because it made me truly see how cooking can bring me around the world and discover things I've never imagined.
Have you run into any hurdles? Do these challenges still exist now?
When I started my job at Food Art Bakery, I was faced with a different environment compared to the restaurants I worked for previously. I had to quickly learn how to manage a full team of employees and train them all- that was very difficult for me. It was a big transition that required a lot of time, work and patience. I was very overwhelmed and didn't know how to balance my work and my personal life. That was definitely a challenging time for me but slowly I figured out how to work along with the team more efficiently and was able to better balance out my life. There are still very hectic times at the Bakery, but I have learned to control and better deal with the challenges. I like to view the challenges as a positive thing now because you will learn something new and valuable coming out on the other side of the problem.
Any advice for other people who want to start their own business and pursue what they love?
You need to have persistence and hard work. However, it's very hard to put in persistence and hard work if you don't love what you do, and have the passion to keep pushing you forward. So, make sure you find your purpose in life, and strive for it.