My name is Pol Anter Campdepadrós and I am a pastry chef in China. I was born in the beautiful town of Terrassa, Spain, 32 years ago, and I’ve been a pastry chef for the past 11 years. I started at a restaurant, and from there I went on to work at a hotel and then at a school. I have done a little bit of everything, but always related to pastry making. Since I was little, our kitchen has been the center of our home, and we have always prepared home-made meals. My sister Carla is also a professional chef, and both she and I grew up helping our parents cook, make desserts, cakes… So, since I was little, I was certain I wanted to end up working in the kitchen.
我叫 Pol Anter Campdepadrós，是一名在中国的糕点师。32 年前，我出生于西班牙美丽的城市塔拉萨。过去的 11 年里，我一直从事糕点制作。起初，我在餐馆工作，然后是酒店，接着是学校。我什么都工作都尝试过，但总不离糕点制作。小时候，厨房就是我们家的中心，我们总是亲自下厨。我的姐姐 Carla 也是一名专业厨师，我们小时候都会帮父母做饭、做甜点、做蛋糕……因此，小时候的我就确定，未来想在厨房工作。
When I finished high school, I decided to study at a cooking school in Manresa called Joviat and specialized in pastry cooking during my last year. That is where I met Aleix, a classmate who ended up marking the direction of my destiny.
高中毕业时，我决定在曼雷萨的一所名为 Joviat 的烹饪学校学习，在最后一年专攻糕点制作。在那里我遇到了 Aleix，他是我的同学，为我指明了命运的航向。
After I finished my studies I worked for a year at a Michelin star restaurant in Spain. The owner of the restaurant had a friend in France who owned a hotel with his husband and recommended me to go work with them. So my first international experience was in France for a year.
After that, I returned to Spain, and the next stop was China in 2013. After graduation, my classmate went directly to work in Beijing at “Migas”, a Mediterranean restaurant. One day he called me because they were hiring a pastry chef. I did not think twice! I had nothing to lose, so I came straight away. What started as a year in Beijing, ended up being 5!
之后，我回到了西班牙。2013 年，我来到了中国，这是我出国的第二站。我同学毕业后直接去了北京的米家思 (Migas) 餐厅工作，那是一家地中海餐厅。一天，他打电话告诉我，他们餐厅正在招聘一名糕点师。我没有多想就去应聘了。我没有什么可失去的，所以我义无反顾地来到了北京。一晃我已经在北京呆了五年！
By then, I balanced work at the restaurant with the pastry classes at a school in Beijing. The owner of the school and I became good friends and I realized I really enjoyed teaching. So, my boss and I made a deal and I worked with her for 4 years.
那时，我一边在餐厅工作，一边在北京一所学校教授糕点制作。校长和我成了好朋友，我发现我真的很喜欢教学。所以，我和老板达成协议，在她的学校工作 4 年。
During an ordinary holiday I went home to Terrassa and my sister gave me a great surprise… She gave me a simple box which had a message in code: a pacifier! You can imagine how excited I was. That encouraged me to return to Spain to be closer to my family, meet my niece and stay in Barcelona for a while. What I missed the most was Chinese food!
I lived in Barcelona for two years and I tried to work as a teacher, but I needed to go on studying, so I started a course in kitchen management, while I stayed in touch with my boss from China. Our friendship was so strong that she even traveled to Spain with my students. I invited them to my home, and we went out to dinner… During their visit, she offered me an opportunity to return to China and work at her school. When I finished my higher studies, I decided to go back to China for the adventure, because in China, there are always so many things going on! So in February 2021, I went back to Beijing for three months, and in May, my boss entrusted me with opening her school in Xiamen.
我在巴塞罗那住了两年，我想当老师，但我仍需要继续学习，因此我开始了厨房管理课程，同时，我与中国老板也保持联系。我们的友谊非常深厚，她甚至带着我的学生去西班牙。我邀请他们来我家做客，一起出去吃饭……他们拜访我的时候，老板给了我一个机会，让我回到中国，在她的学校工作。我学成之后，决定回到中国继续我的冒险，因为在中国每天都有奇妙的事情发生！我决定留在中国工作。2021 年 2 月，我回到北京，呆了三个月。5 月，老板委托我在厦门开设学校。
Ah, Xiamen. I had no clue how hard I would fall for this city. I wanted to stay. When I swim in the sea, I feel like life is amazing, floating there. When I dive in the ocean, everything else disappears and I am the happiest person in the world. In Xiamen, the mountain is 5 minutes away, and the sea, 20 minutes away. There are lakes… I am not from Barcelona city but from Terrassa, which is a big city but feels like a small town, so Xiamen was the ideal place for me. It’s a pity that my romance with Xiamen was so brief. Due to the pandemic, the pastry school in Xiamen didn’t work well, so I had to look for other opinions. I only lived in that city for three months, but that made me realize how much I loved life in the South of China.
啊，厦门。我不知道我有多喜欢这座城市。我想留下来。我在海里游泳的时候，会觉得生活太美好了，只需要漂浮在海上。我在海里潜水的时候，所有烦恼都消失了，感觉我是世界上最幸福的人。在厦门，5 分钟就能看到山，20 分钟就能看到海。这里还有湖泊……我不是来自巴塞罗那，而是来自塔拉萨，那是一个大城市，但跟厦门比起来，就像一个小镇，所以厦门是我的理想之地。遗憾的是，我与厦门的“恋情”是如此短暂。由于疫情影响，厦门的糕点学校运作不畅，所以我不得不另谋生路。虽然我只在厦门生活了三个月，却让我意识到我真的非常热爱中国南方的生活。
A good Basque friend helped me share my CV with his contacts and I could choose among options like Shanghai, Xi’an, or Guangzhou. I opted for working at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Guangzhou, also in the South of China, in love as I was with the coasts of the South and the tropical temperatures. I was very lucky and the truth is I am really happy with the city, the team, the hotel, and the position.
As a curious piece of information, in China the most popular sweets are not as sweet as in European or French style desserts. Usually, at the hotel, I am free to do whatever I want, although lighter desserts are preferred here like chocolate creams or mousse. Sometimes I am asked to prepare typical local desserts from Canton. In that case, I ask for help from the local team and they guide me. They give me their honest opinion about the taste, etc. Also, for the hotel buffet, we prepare very special Chinese desserts, such as a sweet cold soup with dried dates, goji berries and snow mushrooms called “红枣雪耳糖水” (hóngzǎoxuě’ěrtángshuǐ, literally sweetened water with snow fungus and jujube). It may not sound too appealing for the Western palate, but the truth is that it is very successful here and it is very nutritious.
Although I miss my family so much, I know that China has given me great opportunities and coming here was a wise choice. If I went back in time and were asked again if I would come to China, I would say “absolutely yes!” China is very cool. Of course, it has its things, like everywhere else. I would choose this experience again. Culturally we are very different and that is shocking at first. But that is the beauty of adapting to differences, and seeing that in the end, we are not so different.
From here I want to encourage people who study cooking to take the step and come to China if they have the chance. Home is always a place to go back to and it’s not going anywhere. So, anywhere in the world can become your home. It’s a good idea to visit different places, as you never know which one you will like the most.
And if you need one more reason, Chinese food is amazing!