Why Dominique Ansel Says Experiences Mean More Than The Food - Exclusive

If you know the name Dominique Ansel, we're willing to bet it's for one reason, and that's the Cronut. His game-changing frankenpastry skyrocketed him to foodie fame ten years ago, and ever since, he's been feeding the hundreds who line up outside his bakery daily to get their hands on the Cronut, as well as his other creative and crave-able treats. 

For those who've tasted the Cronut, it's hard to forget — from the unique taste of the sweet fillings and toppings that change every month (without repeating) to the flaky, fried texture. But, for many, what's harder to forget is the heart-warming memories made in obtaining said pastry, which, in all likelihood, involved waiting in line for a time with other countless Cronut fans.

And that's what matters most to Ansel. "Yes, the Cronut is my legacy, but there's much more to it," he told Tasting Table in an exclusive interview. The experiences mean so much more to him than the food itself because that's what lives on in people's hearts. "The emotions and the memories you leave with "last much longer than the taste of a Cronut. "It's very special, and I think this is a big part of my legacy too ... for people to remember that they had a unique experience at the bakery."

You'll remember a great time much longer than a great taste

The secret to the Cronut's success, if you ask Ansel, is not about the pastry but about the collective experience surrounding it. "The bakery has a deeper meaning for people," says Ansel. The long and winding lines are an experience to document on social media, a place to make new friends, and even a place to find love. For many people, "it's the place where they first met, they were on the first date ... it's the place where they come to celebrate," whether that's a birthday, anniversary, promotion, or something even more exciting. Ansel adds, "We had, I don't know how many marriage proposals at the bakery. I cannot even count them."

Ansel also recalls the story of an older man who came to wait in line for the Cronut for three hours with his adult son. "A week later he wrote us the most beautiful and touching email," telling Ansel that the experience was "the most time he spent with his son" in decades. "It was the time where he reunited with him and bonded with him again, and he was so emotionally touched ... [and] grateful to have waited outside for the Cronut with him."

At the end of the day, Ansel says that his work and his passion is driven by one question: "How do you connect emotionally with people? How do they remember what you've done for them, what they ate?"