Consultant by vocation: Davide Malizia

The son of artists from Caltagirone, Davide specialised in sugar art at the most famous pastry shops in Italy and abroad. His sense of art and talent for design have earned him prizes at the most prestigious international competitions, from the 2006 world championships in Luxembourg and the 2008 world championship in Stuttgart to the title of Sugar Art World Champion at the 2013 ‘The Star of Sugar’ event in Rimini. In that same year, once again in Rimini, he won the pastry world cup in the role of coach for the Italian team. Now 35 years old, Davide has worked with sugar for 15 years and acted as a consultant for the past 10.There is now a six month waiting list for an appointment with him. He also teaches at the most important schools in Italy and abroad, most notably Lênotre in Paris, where he is also the only Italian professor. He will soon open his new school ‘Davide Malizia – The culture of sugar art’ in Rome.
How much time does your consultancy work take up?
Since I stopped entering competitions approximately two years ago, I offer consultancy all year round: I dedicate half of my time to private consultancy in Italy and abroad at patisseries; the rest is spent on helping candidates prepare for competitions.
What do competition entrants ask of you?
Generally the consultancy lasts between six and seven months. After initially spending a few days with the client, in which we fine-tune the project and plan our work schedule, I require the entrant to practice in their own patisserie and send me photos of their progress. They then visit me once a month to present the work they have done so far.
And what type of consultancy do you offer to patisseries?
I am usually called to consult on the introduction of a new line of products or to resolve a problem with a product. In any case, I concentrate on one theme; perhaps modern cakes or miniatures or single-portions. This avoids confusion and means we don’t bite off more than we can chew. Of course, after two or three visits to the same patisserie, I have a good feel for how the business works, what socio-economic context it fits into and the preferences of the clientele, etc. At this point I propose a series of themes that I think would be useful for increasing business.
What are the main problems you encounter?
A lot of places don’t have a cold chain suitable for planning work in advance. Some have too small a kitchen to maximise their potential or are not technologically advanced or efficient enough. The right investments, although costly, allow savings in labour and space and an improved quality of life. Unfortunately patisserie employees still spend approximately 13/15 hours a day in the kitchen even today.
What are the advantages of being a consultant but not owning a patisserie?
Teachers are born not made, so if you have a certain predisposition in that direction, it is important to follow up on it. I can devote all my time to updating my knowledge on worldwide pastry-making, in terms of ingredients and technology, and trials and experiments. Quite rightly, patisserie owners have other priorities: the running of their business.

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