Francesco Elmi the explorer of sweets

Francesco Elmi the explorer of sweets
A 360° look starting from his dedication in his pastry shop in Bologna, Regina di Quadri, and expanding to his work as a Brand Ambassador, instructor, academic.

How would you define in a few words the pastry chef Francesco Elmi?

A pastry chef that has a passion for sweets and who is constantly searching for “quality things” with an intense love for traditional Italian leavened sweets, while attentively and constantly looking for innovation.


The most significant professional mistake of your career?

It isn’t easy to identify your own errors, but probably mine was not having always focused all my energy into one direction.

What is your favourite dessert recipe?

My favourite recipe is the one that I still need to try, because my passion for this profession brings me to experiment constantly. I experience professional satisfaction and emotional involvement most when I make recipes with mother yeast.

Which was the most important professional intuition of your career?

Twelve years ago, walking down via Castiglione in Bologna, seeing what looked like an unattractive business location close to the medieval entrance to the city, I thought about how I could transform it into the pastry shop of my dreams. And thus, Regina di Quadri was born, right in the heart of the city, the pastry shop that I still manage today and that continues to give me lots of satisfaction.


How is Italian pastry perceived today at an international level?

I think that Italian pastry is perceived very well abroad: pastry arts with utmost quality and strong traditions. I believe that Italian pastry is the best in the world at the moment, even if often times abroad Italian sweets are mistreated.

Where does artisanal gelato fit in with your offer?

Gelato is part of our tradition. There is a little space for it in my offer, but when it is, I guarantee it with extra care.

What future do you foresee for our pastry arts?
The future is in our hands, in the hands of professionals that have an important task: one of spreading the best of our pastry arts with strength and conscientiousness. We have so much to share, so it will be important to maintain unaltered the processes that make us stand out, without making compromises for the pure sake of generating profits. Sweets, above all, should give pleasure and evoke emotions, everything else should come afterwards.

Artisanal gelato is living an incredibly positive moment, even though it remains a simple product that is affordable and is an excellent value for money. Do you agree with this assessment and what future do you foresee?

I do share this evaluation, but I think that “simplicity” is very hard to achieve and obtaining it remains a complex challenge.

You recently became a Brand Ambassador for Mielizia. Why did you accept, and which project do you intend to develop with this role?

I enthusiastically accepted this project because I believe that it is a company/consortium that reflects my values, my ethic and my project of searching for excellent raw ingredients. Honey is a part of my daily life, and it could never not be a part of my sweets. I would like to promote as best as I can Mielizia’s reality so to make known its excellent products to the general public.

On the wave of the healthy trend, which use of honey will grow in importance and consideration beyond its classic consumption at breakfast?

I believe that there are many excellent development opportunities for such a versatile ingredient such as honey: it can be used with excellent results in leavened doughs, in creams, in innovative and modernized cakes – very trendy now – but also in gelato and granita instead of sugar. I made a granita with mango, ginger and honey that is very well liked, and it is without sugar.

Your work expands also across many industry associations, such as l’Accademia dei Maestri del Lievito Madre e del Panettone Italiano (the Association of Mother Dough and Italian Panettone maestros) and l’Apei – Ambasciatori Pasticceri dell’Eccellenza Italiana (Ambassador Pastry Chefs of Italian Excellence). What objectives do these associations propose and how can communication with consumers improve?

The goal is to elevate Italian pastry, gelato and chocolate arts to levels of excellence, with great commitment to making this known, in addition to comparison among professionals that have the same passion and same determination to accomlish this goal. Communication with consumers could be improved by using all the channels available, ranging from events in public spaces up to digital channels. It is work that I try to do daily by talking about sweets with all the customers that walk into my pastry shop and purchase them.

Could you tell us which enrichment did the television experiences such as a competitor on “Cake Star” and as a judge on “Master Chef
Italia” give you?

I think that all television appearances bring fame and can contribute to helping understand how important it is to share your own professionalism even through these channels.

What is Francesco Elmi’s main goal for the future?

To continue to innovate myself both in the content and in the presentation of my sweets, while optimizing production and changing the way my customers perceive my product. All of this while creating an environment that is continuously more special and that can give the customer a complete tasting experience.

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