The pastry police are coming. And they're going right inside Gerard Dubois' Kowloon Bay bakery to cast a stern eye out for any violations of their baking bible. For it's the judge's turn to be judged. But Dubois, recently chosen to judge the pastry section at this year's Culinary Olympics in Germany, isn't letting them curdle his custard. Dubois and his partners at La Rose Noire, who won the Hong Kong management contract for French pastry house Fauchon, opened the first shop in Exchange Square earlier this year. And now Philippe Andrieu, the 27-year-old pastry chef at Fauchon, has flown in to teach La Rose Noire how to make pastries the Fauchon way. 'We must do the same in Hong Kong and Korea the way it is done in Paris,' he insists. In fact, Andrieu's sole task is travelling the world's Fauchon outlets to make sure things don't change - ever. What exactly is the Fauchon way? Why does Andrieu have to teach Dubois, an undisputed master at what he does, how to put butter on puff pastry? And why would anyone in Hong Kong subscribe to an inflexible concept that is not only alien to their culture, but makes no concession to local input? 'There are always different ways of doing things,' Dubois says. 'Some people bake things a little longer, use the ingredients a little differently. There are always tricks that make a difference in the quality.' In the nuts and bolts of croissant production, Dubois explains, there are as many ways to apply butter as there are choices of butter to use. In the most simple terms, La Rose Noire puts the butter inside, Fauchon puts the butter outside. La Rose Noire chills the dough in the fridge for an hour, Fauchon leaves it there overnight. 'The product looks the same, but it tastes a little different,' Dubois says. It is that difference - honed over the 110 years that Fauchon has been in business - which Andrieu spends his time policing. 'It's not better or worse,' Andrieu says. 'It's just different. We always do it the same, even if it doesn't change the final product. That's the way it is done in Paris and that's the way they want it in the rest of the world.' A strict regime. So strict Dubois has dedicated four pastry chefs to the Fauchon project. So strict Andrieu spent four days in Hong Kong testing butters before he settled on a French product with less water than any other type he tried. He was as finicky about the flour, coming up with a mix of bread and cake flour that matched Fauchon's standards. Fauchon admits it has very little interest in sourcing local products, and only does so if there is no other choice. 'As far as possible, we use the same ingredients as they do in Paris,' Dubois says. The chocolate is by the Rolls-Royce of chocolate makers, Valhrona, and the vanilla beans are flown in from France. The consistency is a source of pride for Andrieu. 'The only creating we do is in Paris. Overseas, we are not allowed to create anything of our own.' Not even when customers ask for it. In Hong Kong, customers started asking for items not on the Fauchon-approved list. Things such as muffins. But where adding muffins to the menu in double quick time would be called catering to customer needs in Hong Kong, such action would be condemned as heresy in Paris, 'I have to respect the style of the franchise,' Dubois insists. 'If I developed a La Rose Noire franchise, I would do the same.' Even with the firmest promises in the world to stick to the letter of the recipe, Fauchon keeps some secrets to itself. Hong Kong will not get the trademark 20cm high milk chocolate hazelnut praline cake, or, for those in the know, la cerise sur le gateau. That is a Fauchon speciality that remains a Paris exclusive. 'It's a registered product,' Andrieu says. Indeed, the methods are so rigorous an advance team from La Rose Noire went to Paris for initial training at Fauchon's head office before Christmas. It seems a lot of effort for a tiny variation in butter levels of a croissant, gorgeous cakes in a town filled with gorgeous cakes, and for a range of old-fashioned salads drenched in mayonnaise, which are also a staple part of Fauchon's quality fare. But people do notice that they are receiving better than the best quality, Dubois claims, reeling off figures which include serving an average of 350 lunches a day at the Exchange Square shop. The best selling items are the pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and the vegetable baguette sandwich. But then Fauchon is not known for its funky dishes. The most cutting-edge garnishes are a slice of tomato and piece of lettuce. 'We are distinguished by our quality,' Andrieu declares. 'If it's not perfect, it is not good enough.' While Dubois may have the utmost respect for his new partners' methods, when it comes to La Rose Noire, he is standing by his own version of perfection. 'We will not change ours,' he says. 'No, never.'