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Interview mit meinem Bruder Jörg Amsler

Er lebt in Boston an der Ostküste Amerikas.

ShopBakersNook was fortunate to have Jorg Amsler give us some of his time for an interview. Jorg is originally from Switzerland where he studied pastry and chocolate. He owns a bakery in Sagus Massachusetts where he creates pastries, cakes, chocolates and also does catering. Jorg has competed in several Food Network Challenges including Last Cake Standing.    

ShopBakersNook: What got you first interested in food and baking?

Jorg Amsler: I grew up in Switzerland and the last time I went back my mother had pulled out some of my old school things. In these things, was an essay that I wrote when I was about 12 saying that when I grew up I wanted to be a pastry chef. This is funny since I don’t even remember writing this. 

I do remember going on a field trip to a bakery at age 8 and being very interested in everything there. Growing up I wasn’t as book smart as my siblings so when it came time to pick a career my father told me I should work with my hands. I was always more artistic, so this seemed like a good fit. 

ShopBakersNook: You attended pastry school in Switzerland and studied chocolate for one whole year, how does this differ from studies in America? 

Jorg Amsler: In Switzerland the study of pastry is basically a four year apprenticeship. You work in actual bakeries to learn hands on. Then you would only be in the classroom setting about 1-1/2 days a week. You learn from the real world and not a controlled classroom setting. 

For instance, I spent 6 months just working the oven at a bakery. I believe it is much more comprehensive. In America you may spend a few weeks in a course on baking bread for instance. So you don’t get the real world experience. I believe you learn more by doing than you ever can from a book. 

I have had 60-70 interns come through my shop and they all say that they learn more from me having them do something over and over than they did from the classroom. Not that I believe that pastry school is a bad thing, but I am a firm believer in experience. 

ShopBakersNook: What made you decide to come to the United States? 

Jorg Amsler: The village that I grew up in was very small, only about 300 people. I was the type of kid that wanted adventure. So I moved to Montreal Canada and when I was supposed to go back to Switzerland I decided to go to work on cruise ships. 

My last contract with the cruise ship ended in San Diego. I decided to stay there and work. I opened my first shop in California.  

ShopBakersNook: What did you do after your first shop in California was destroyed by an earthquake? 

Jorg Amsler: I had my shop from 1990 to 1994 and it was right next to the freeway that collapsed in 1994. I didn’t have earthquake insurance, like most people, since it was so expensive. I lost everything. I decided to go and visit my uncle back east. 

While I was there a friend of mine decided to open a restaurant and wanted me to come and work for him in Maine. While working at the restaurant  former President George Bush Sr. came into the restaurant and was impressed with my pastries. 

I eventually went to work for him and his wife at their summer home in Kennebunkport as their pastry chef. Then I met my future wife and we both went back to work on the cruise ships and then I decided to open a shop once again but this time in Sagus Massachusetts.  

ShopBakersNook: You do catering, pastries, chocolates as well as cakes, do you prefer doing one over the other? 

Jorg Amsler: What I love most about my job is the diversity of what I do. One day I may be catering, then next maybe making pastries, novelty cakes or wedding cakes. We do all custom work from scratch so my staff is never doing the same thing every day. 

We have a large wholesale business where we customize the menu for the client. Every client is different so every menu is different. We don’t do anything cookie cutter.  We even do the pastries for the luxury suites for the New England Patriots. 

ShopBakersNook: What is your favorite thing at Truly Jorg’s that you make? 

Jorg Amsler: I actually enjoy the simple things the best. I love a bowl of vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries. In fact I love anything with fresh fruit. I also love custards and crème brulee. 

ShopBakersNook: What made you want to compete in Challenge on the Food Network? 

Jorg Amsler: They contacted me and I thought “why not”. I love to collaborate with other chefs and see how they do things. Plus it was a chance to get away from the shop for awhile and maybe win $10,000. Which by the way, I did win several challenges. 

I was used to dealing with stress and time pressures from my shop. I didn’t see any down side to doing the Challenge. 

ShopBakersNook: How was doing the Last Cake Standing different than doing a Challenge? 

Jorg Amsler: Not really that different, they use the same formula as the Challenge. It is just that you have a Challenge every other day with little or no time to prepare. You don’t always know what the challenge will be about. This is easy for me since I am used to dealing with stressful situations and working with other people. 

I love to challenge myself and am not afraid to make mistakes. I feel you learn the most by making mistakes. The mistakes you make only make you better and teach you what not to do. 

ShopBakersNook: You have competed in chocolate challenges as well as cake challenges; what was your favorite challenge? 

Jorg Amsler: I am partial to the chocolate challenges. Being from Switzerland, it is in my blood and I studied chocolate for an entire year. I believe chocolate is underrated in the American culinary programs so I love showing all the things that you can do with chocolate. 

I feel that most people don’t understand the wonderful medium that chocolate is and what wonderful creations you can make with it.  

ShopBakersNook: Has a customer ever come to you with a request that you thought would be impossible? 

Jorg Amsler: I have never said no to anything. Usually when a customer comes in with a crazy request the price will dictate the design. We did help the designers of Heatherette make a wedding dress out of chocolate that walked the runway in New York. 

ShopBakersNook: If you could make a cake for anyone dead or alive who would that be for and what would the cake be? 

Jorg Amsler: I would love to be able to make a cake for my grandfather who passed away when I was very small. He seemed like a very interesting person who loved architecture. I would love to make a replica of his house. I love to make architectural style cakes since I used to work in construction. 

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