Having worked in France, in the United States and in Japan, he conceived four innovations which transformed the international world of cookery. He notably invented the verrines, which display in a vertical and transparent container dishes traditionally served horizontally in plates, in 1994.
After receiving several awards and working in Michelin-starred restaurants (La Table d'Anvers, Petrossian...), he is the confounder and head pastry chef of the Pâtisserie des Rêves, a patisserie with outlets in France, Japan and the UK. He is especially concerned with the transmission of emotions through his culinary works and the popularization of such a work on taste.
Youth and apprenticeship
Born August 16, 1963 in Choisy-le-Roi, Philippe Conticini literally spends his childhood in his parents’ kitchens at the Restaurant du Rocher in Vitry (Val-de-Marne), then at the Michelin-starred Restaurant du Parc in Villemomble (Seine-Saint-Denis). His apprenticeship starts in 1980 at Alain Dutournier's double Michelin starred Trou Gascon, just before taking on pastry-making at Maxim's Roissy outlet.
After getting his CAP (French equivalent of a British NVQ in pastry, frozen dessert-making and chocolate-making he starts his career in 1983 as a pastry assistant at Jacques Chibois' double Michelin-starred Gray d'Albion, which he leaves for Peltier in 1985.
In May 1986, he opens the restaurant La Table d'Anvers (one Michelin star), rated 17/20 on the Gault Millau guide), a restaurant he co-owns and where he is head pastry chef until 1998. During that time, he changes the pastry codes by incorporating techniques originally used only in savoury cooking (reduction of sauces, minute cooking, deglazing, seasoning... …).
Elected pastry chef of the year by the Gault Millau magazine in 1991, he distinguishes himself in 1994 by inventing verrine desserts, which according to his own description allows him to control the sensations diners feel, and transmit his own understanding of taste to others.
His growing notoriety led him to intervene as a cooking consultant for several companies in the food industry (Materne in 1995, Senoble from 2001 to 2005, Ferrero in 2005, Nestlé in 2006), and in several medias and shows so as to popularize "contemporary" pastry. He therefore organized in 1996 the Des arômes et des hommes (international day of contemporary pastry), cofounded the "Art et Dessert" association (popularization of contemporary pastry) and started a two-year collaboration with Thuriès Gastronomie Magazine, where he kept a monthly column. He was twice named President of the jury of the French Dessert making championships, in 1997 and 1998.
A collaboration started in 1999 with the House of Petrossian, in Paris and New York, as a cooking consultant allows him to gain recognition outside his native France. He becomes head pastry chef at Petrossian in Paris, and the restaurant is rated 17/20 by Gault Millau two years later. In 2000 he creates a café-boutique concept for the 7th Avenue outlet of Petrossian noted by the “Dining Out” section of The New-York Times, and the newspaper invites him to contribute eight successive columns.
He starts working again with the Peltier pâtisseries, in Paris and starting from 2002 in Tokyo. In January 2003, he coaches the French team to win the title of world pastry champion in Lyon.
He then focuses on personal projects such as the launch of his high-end catering company, Exception Gourmande (until 2008), then in 2009 of the Pâtisserie des Rêves par Philippe Conticini, with a first Parisian outlet rue du Bac, a second one rue de Longchamp in 2010, and finally two Japanese outlets opening in Kyoto and Osaka, Japan, in 2012.
He is named president of the national final of the amateur macaroon competition, and of the 40th edition of the French dessert championship.
Innovations introduced by Philippe Conticini
- Verrines (1994) : he transforms the world of gastronomy and pastry  by being the first to serve dishes and desserts “vertically” in glasses rather than horizontally in plates (traditional serving).
- Gourmet cooking with mass consumption products (2004) : willing to prove that gastronomy is not reserved to an elite, he’s among the first chefs to work with mass consumption food products. As soon as 1994, at La Table d'Anvers, he starts using Coca-Cola, in the jelly of his Cocajou dessert. In Tentations en 2004, he publishes a recipte using Nutella. Ferrero contacts him soon after and he publishes Sensations Nutella the following year, a book of recipes using the chocolate spread. He goes on by publishing Concentré de délices (Concentrate of delights), a book of recipes using everyday food products. The book’s cover purposely imitates Andy Warhol’s Campbell's Soup Cans II artwork ; in 2007, he also publishes Le Thon c'est bon (Tuna is good), a book of recipes using canned tuna as the main ingredient.
- Reinvented classics (2009) : he is among the firsts to reinvent classic French pastries, adapting them to today’s taste (less sugar, lighter, more intense taste) "Just like Ferran Adrià did it with traditional paella, he managed to revisit the great classics of our pastries entirely, bringing the infinite lightness, softness, and simplicity of his own." writes Joël Robuchon, in his preface of Sensations, Philippe Boé, Philippe Conticini, La Martinière, 2009, notably through his tarte Tatin, his Paris-Brest or his Saint-Honoré.
- The choux bar (2010) : he introduces the concept of choux-bun bar”. The à la minute assembly on the spot allow a structure of textures (between the cream and the puff pastry) and tastes (between the cracker, the main cream and the insert) capable of retrieving all the taste characteristics of the product far away from the kitchen where it is prepared. Since then, choux-buns have enjoyed a growing success and are about to become the next leading pastry after macaroons and cupcakes.
- Elected Pastry chef of the year by Gault Millau in 1991
- Rated 17/20 by Gault Millau, and 1 Michelin star for his work at La Table d’Anvers restaurant in 1986 (Paris)
- Distinguishes as one of the most promising figures in cooking by Gault Millau in 2001
- Rated 17/20 by Gault Millau, and 1 Michelin star for his work at Petrossian restaurant in 2002 (Paris)
- Coach of the French world pastry champion team in 2003
- Honorary member of the French national cooking academy in May 2003
- Knight of the Ordre National du Mérite in June 2004
- Named Best Paris-Brest in Paris by Le Figaro in 2010
- President of the jury of the Charles Proust competition in 2012 
Concurrently to his activities as a chef, Philippe Conticini has been eager to pass on his experience of taste. Besides his articles in the specialized press he participated in the editing of a number of books, and to the conception of several TV shows, such as Jeux de Goûts on Cuisine TV starting from 2006; he also intervened in Le Meilleur Pâtissier, the TV show broadcast by M6.
- Christian Conticini, Philippe Conticini, La Cuisine Gourmande des Stars, Paris, Editions Bilan 2000, 1989
- Philippe Conticini, J’ai perdu 120 kilos, Paris, Editions J'ai Lu, 1996
- Philippe Conticini, Jacques Fricker, Desserts en liberté: Le plaisir en gardant la forme, Paris, Editions Odile Jacob, 1999
- Philippe Boé, Blandine Boyer, Philippe Conticini, Tentations, Paris, Editions Marabout, 2004 (ISBN 978-2-5010-4302-1) (Awarded best chef’s book in the world in Stockholm, book of the year in France)
- Philippe Boé, Philippe Conticini, Sensations Nutella, Paris, Editions Marabout, 2005 (ISBN 978-2-9146-4570-6)
- Philippe Boé, Philippe Conticini, Sandra Mahut, Concentré de délices, Paris, Editions Marabout, 2006 (ISBN 978-2-5010-4497-4)
- Philippe Conticini, Croquez Monsieur!, Paris, Editions Marabout, 2007 (ISBN 978-2-5010-5127-9)
- Philippe Conticini, Le Thon, c'est bon !, Paris, Editions Marabout, 2007 (ISBN 978-2-5010-5586-4)
- Philippe Boé, Philippe Conticini, Verrines du Chef, Paris, Editions Marabout, 2008 (ISBN 978-2-5010-5987-9)
- Philippe Boé, Philippe Conticini, Sensations: 288 recettes de pâtisserie, Paris, Editions Minerva, 2009 (ISBN 978-2-8307-1200-1)
- Philippe Conticini, Original Speculoos, Paris, Editions Agnès Vienot, 2009 (ISBN 978-2-3532-6062-1)
- Philippe Conticini et alii (collectif), Les Desserts: 1000 recettes, 1000 photos, Paris, Editions Solar, 2012 (ISBN 978-2-2630-3172-4)
- Philippe Conticini, La Pâtisserie des Rêves, Paris, Editions Gründ, 2012 (ISBN 978-2-3240-0326-4)
- Best of Philippe Conticini, Paris, Editions Alain Ducasse, 2012 (ISBN 978-2-8412-3442-4)
- Pies, 40 tourtes sensationnelles, Paris, Editions La Martinière, 2013 (ISBN 978-2-7324-5663-8)
- Thuriès Gastronomie Magazine : publishes a monthly column called Tanganyika from 1996 to 1998
- New-York Times : publishes 8 weekly columns in 2001
- Zeste : publishes a 5-page column in each issue starting from September 2012.
This programme is about explaining how he is capable of finding the rights seasoning using cheap and easy to find ingredients, therefore enabling the inexperienced cook to conceive a quality seasoning by working on taste.
He also intervenes in the show Le Meilleur pâtissier on M6.
Notes and references
- "One of the forerunners in pastry. Philippe Conticini has been, together with Pierre Hermé the instigator of the renewal of our profession (…)Philippe has a awesome palate, certainly one of the best trained in our profession". Christophe Michalak, head pastry chef of the Plaza Athénée on his blog passions gourmandes,
- "Pastry Chef Philippe Conticini was the first to propose a verrine dessert". Le Grand Larousse Gastronomique, 7th edition, Editions Larousse, octobre 2012, (ISBN 978-2-0358-8459-6) p.887.
- "This work on taste is my search for the Grail. I chose pastry-making as a means of expression, as I could have chosen writing" in Le Nouvel Art Culinaire Français, Editions Flammarion, 2012. (ISBN 978-2-0812-7251-4) p.469.
- "Philippe Conticini/Rencontre avec un survivant" [Philippe Conticini/Meeting a survivor]. Le Nouvel Observateur (in French). 31 August 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
Thanks to the multilayered structure, because one had to thrust his spoon down to the bottom and take everything back up, I found myself all of a sudden in a position where I totally controlled what I put in the mouth of my clients.
- "Ultimately, Mr. Conticini may find that his innovations not only affect the world of baking, but that of cooking, too." in "There's a New Flavor in Town, and it's... Salt", New York Times, Dining Out, 30 August 2000.
- “Far from the artifices of the times and the lazy ways of reproducing, everywhere, the same traditional pastries, Philippe was the first to understand the difference between in-shop pastries and restaurant pastries, by playing on the textures and creating desserts which did not exist before. By renovating the profession, Philippe brought the benefit of all his imagination and sensitiveness to pastry-making, which immediately became lighter, full of new savours” writes Joël Robuchon in the Preface of Sensations, Philippe Boé, Philippe Conticini, La Martinière, 2009
- "Best of Philippe Conticini", Paris, Editions Alain Ducasse, 2012 (ISBN 978-2-8412-3442-4), p.18.
- Le Chou à la crème, nouvelle star, by Marie-Odile Briet, www.lexpress.fr, 26/05/2010
- Video introducing the jury  made by the association relais et desserts 
- Introduction of Philippe Conticini’s show on the channel’s website