Michael Pretet, Amber
It was January 2016 when Amber set up its first-ever charity pop-up cake shop in Central. The month-long promotion was the first time Hong Kong got a chance to see what 30-year-old pastry chef Michael Pretet could do, turning out patisserie classics such as tarte au citron, Mont Blanc, Paris-Brest and vanilla millefeuille. Upon completing his training in hospitality school and culinary operations in France, Pretet decided to specialise in pastry—at the age of 20.
With equal parts creativity and precision, Pretet’s intuition for ingredient pairing in his creations is acute and often surprising—from ribbons of heirloom carrot confit matched with scarlethued blood orange sorbet to a vibrant Japanese twist of sake and green tea paired with pineapple and coconut, and to Alphonso mango combined with yuzu and floral jasmine. The French native’s creativity lies not only in his parade of innovative sweets, but also in his excellent execution of traditional French classics, such as a perfect Grand Marnier soufflé.
Pretet’s uncanny knack for creative yet familiar combinations that consistently raise eyebrows is exemplified in the pastry chef’s goal of combining old and new on the esteemed restaurant’s menus. He’s offering a little bit of everything to fit every guest’s preference for a sweet ending, from multi-textured chocolate structures to simple classics such as flaky fruit tarts, each artfully matching the same high level of execution as the savoury courses preceding them. While some may think they don’t have room for dessert after a full-on cuisine showdown at Amber, Pretet’s simple yet spot-on creations are a prime reason to save room—if only to allow the memory of a great meal to linger just a moment longer.