NEW YORK - Every week, Dominique Ansel's new Dominique Ansel Workshop receives 300 pounds of butter flown in from France.
"It's a little pricier but it's worth it," Ansel said. "The quality of the butter, the texture, the flavor: It makes a really unique croissant."
"I'm not tired of the Cronut," Ansel said. "I love the Cronut."
But one finds no Cronuts for sale inside Ansel's just-opened Madison Square workshop; only variations of the croissant — colorful, impermanent, and experimental interpretations of that pastry.
"When I look at a croissant, I look for perfection," Ansel said. "But you can spend a lifetime working on the croissant, building those layers."
Ansel estimates more than 600 layers of dough combine to create each one of his croissants from an ever-expanding catalog of recipes, to which he plans to continue adding from this Madison Square test kitchen.
Some croissants at Dominique Ansel Workshop in Manhattan.
"I spend quite a bit of time thinking of the ideas first, thinking of the story of what I want to do and how it connects with people," Ansel said.
For Ansel, who started working in a restaurant in the north of France to earn money for his family at 16 years old ("My first job?" Ansel said. "I was washing dishes, cleaning salads and putting stuff away."), food must forge an emotional connection with the people eating it.
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"It's a process that takes some time and it's a process I love doing," Ansel said. "That's why we have our own test kitchen here."
And now, any of us may sample Ansel's latest creations from his new 27th Street bakery.
"I eat what I do every single day," Ansel said. "I eat quite a bit of it."
Ansel digests all those buttery treats during 17-hour workdays, spent in pursuit of baking perfection.
"You can spend a lifetime learning about baking," Ansel said, "learning about what you do with the craft and keep on perfecting yourself. And that's why I love baking."