October 20, 2003
[Pierre Hermé's Favorite Desserts]
Pierre Hermé is a world famous pastry chef. His stores in Paris, New York and Tokyo are designed like jewellery stores and are constantly crowded, with lines often going around the corner. He is a very prolific and inventive chef, who actually imagines new pastry lines twice a year, a spring/summer collection, and a fall/winter collection. His creations are always aesthetically perfect, but his real focus is on layering flavors, pleasing the palate and astonishing the tastebuds. Many of his findings and inspirations, revolutionary at the time, get adopted by other pastry chefs to become classics.
I do object to some aspects of the phenomenon, though. His pastry shop on rue Bonaparte in the 6th arrondissement is more than a little intimidating - and I'm normally not that shy. I hardly dared walk in, what with the sophisticated salespeople and the dramatic décor, display cases and lighting. This could not be further from what my pastry shop will be like one day. He also gets a ton of Parisian hype and media attention, with press releases every time he creates a new macaron flavor and ubiquitous articles about the Easter egg he invents each year.
But this is all part of the character, and you have to admit that the guy is a genius, a true artist, a visionary, and I am just fascinated by him, his work and the real empire he has built.
So at the party we went to on Saturday night, I was delighted to talk to a friend of our friends, who works as a sales attendant in Pierre Hermé's rue Bonaparte store. He confirmed that the atmosphere in the store is somewhat special, but he learns a lot about the business, *and* since they don't sell the pastries that are anything short of perfect, he gets to bring home two every day. Now, is that the perk to end all perks, or what?
Pierre Hermé has just published a new book, called "Mes Desserts Préférés", in which he gives very detailed and intricate instructions on how to make a variety of elaborate desserts. Seeing my enthusiasm (I probably looked like a kid meeting one of Santa Claus' little helpers!), our friend very kindly said that if I wanted to purchase a copy, he would try and get Pierre Hermé to sign it for me... I would be thrilled! Ahem. Why do I suddenly feel like such a groupie?
Pâtisserie Pierre Hermé
72 rue Bonaparte
01 43 54 47 77
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