“Success is not a destination. It is an everyday process of choosing to learn, to work, to achieve.” - Wassim Orfali
For Wassim, nothing comes easy. He believes that the things worth achieving in life are things that push you to your limits, things that challenge your boundaries and inspire you to work hard. That is why his passion and love for the art of pastry is continuously fueled by his desire to learn and be better. He sees everyday as a chance to experiment, taste and discover recipes and techniques that will not only enrich his craft, but bring joy to others.
This scenario held true for Wassim Orfali, a young 13-year old boy from Aleppo, Syria who had big dreams of becoming a chef just like his brother Mohammad. While his first experience of being in a professional kitchen was less than glamorous, it started a fire in him that kept him dreaming and working towards becoming the master of his own kitchen. Starting from the bottom taught him the values of dedication, precision and organization - traits that have carried him through a successful journey.
Long days were normal for Wassim as he worked under the tutelage of world-renowned chefs who not only taught him valuable techniques to flourish in the art of pastry and baking, but also inspired him to learn and discover ones of his own. Once, while working under one of the most famous and professional pastry chefs in Aleppo who studied and worked in France, Wassim took a special interest in French pastry. For over five years, he painstakingly learned everything he could about this craft and innovated with his own touch.
While it was a long-standing goal for Wassim to travel to France to learn first-hand from the chefs there, conditions were not favorable. This did not deter him however, but instead made him even more eager to discover and get inspiration from books especially those of the world’s most prestigious chefs such as Pierre Herme, Philippe Conticini, Gaston Lenotre, Francisco Migoya, and Christophe Adam among others.
His love for learning brought him to various trainings and workshops on patisseries and boulangerie from different parts of the world. Every time, he brings home a significant piece of knowledge and experience that he infuses into every dessert that comes out of his oven.
Whenever he tries to innovate, Wassim always believes in maintaining the integrity of the flavors. He meticulously adds layers and textures, focusing on small details with such precision that every ingredient simply blends into perfection. While he is primarily working with French pastries, his key to distinguishing himself as a chef comes in his expert infusion of Arabic ingredients and techniques.
It is not necessarily a fusion, but more of a contemporary spin on a traditional recipe. The key to every great dessert are still the ingredients - simple, fresh, exact - whether it be chocolate, vanilla, fresh fruits, nuts, or various spices and fragrances. It’s the simplicity of the dish that unlocks complex emotions and memories and makes every bite unforgettable.
Wassim’s vision was crafted through trial and error with various recipes. It was a combination of learning manual techniques and developing traditional skills and craftsmanship in Aleppo. Now, he aims to travel the world to further develop his style, discover different ingredients and take inspiration from other cultures.
Wassim has a love for competitions and has participated in various international ones representing Syria and the UAE in the Art of Pastry. In 2012, Wassim joined Fauchon Paris in Dubai which had a big impact on his career as well. He is instrumental in the development of delectable dessert selections in various top pastry shops and restaurants around the UAE . Backed by over 18 years of experience, he is now specializing in French and modern Arabic pastry creation - two cultures deeply ingrained in the Near East and Middle Eastern regions.
His dream is to serve this unique experience together with other celebrated innovations by his chef brothers - Mohammad and Omar. Him and his brothers want to elevate the food and pastry experience of people, especially in Dubai, and share with them the eccentricities of Aleppian food and pastries that made their city the food capital of the Near East.