French pastry chef Alexis Watrin came to Hong Kong to head Hullett House's St George restaurant after four years at London's five-star Dorchester Hotel. Watrin explains why he was eating food of Michelin-star quality by the age of five, what persuaded him to become a pastry chef and why pastry is a science. You came to Hong Kong when Hullett House opened in 2009. How was it? When I arrived here, it was two weeks before the opening, so I had a very short time to find everything. But I was lucky. You can get almost anything here. Did you have to alter your recipes after moving here? The flours are different - here they have more gluten. It's OK, but it affects the bread and can make it tough. I've been reducing sugar in my recipes. I have found people don't like things too sweet here. But it's contradictory, because when you try the Chinese desserts, they are always sweet. You worked in Michelin-star restaurants in France and England. What brought you to Hong Kong? I had been in contact with Philippe Orrico, executive chef at St George. I knew about Philippe, that he had worked with Pierre Gagnaire. I knew they wanted Michelin stars, so it was a challenge. Philippe is an incredible person. He is so good because he shares a lot and that's something I appreciate. How does the relationship between the savoury kitchen and the sweet kitchen work? The communication between the kitchen and the pastry section is very important. You need to be as one. When you finish a meal, the dessert needs to show continuity. If you are in a restaurant and you eat something very classic, and you follow with something very extravagant, it doesn't work. There needs to be a connection. What's your signature style? I like to work with texture. When I layer a cake or when I add the finishing touches, I always add a different texture. At what age did you start to get interested in food? My parents were passionate about food. When I was five, I was already eating in Michelin-star restaurants. That helped me a lot. When did you start cooking? My parents were in the industry. They have a restaurant in France, on the Swiss border, so I grew up in the kitchen. We lived above it. At eight, I was dicing carrots and cooking my own stuff. You took up pastry early in your career. What attracted you to it? When I arrived at Georges Blanc, the head pastry chef was one of the best ice carving craftsmen in France. He was also a world champion in pastry. This guy was at the top of the top. So I saw the artistry of pastry. A lot of chefs are scared of the pastry section. What qualities do you think make a good pastry chef? You need a lot of patience. You spend a lot of time creating. It takes a long time. You need discipline, too. If you miss something out in the [general] kitchen, you can make changes, if you miss something from a pastry recipe, it won't work. It's a science.