Within the pantheon of legendary pastry skills, the French will level to Marie-Antoine Carême, Gaston Lenôtre, Pierre Hermé, maybe Dominique Ansel for his culture-bending cronut, and now Cédric Grolet who, at 31, is arguably probably the most recognizable determine within the pastry world at present.
Head pastry chef at Le Meurice lodge since 2012, Grolet’s imaginative trompe l’oeil desserts, just like the lemon, apple, or hazelnut that he featured in his first ebook Fruits, and his inexhaustible capability for experimentation, has earned him excessive honors; he was named the Finest Pastry Chef within the World by Les Grandes Tables du Monde collective and once more best-of for 2018 by the influential restaurant information Gault & Millau. His creations aren’t simply devastatingly stunning artistic endeavors that needs to be admired and contemplated with the identical consideration bestowed on any portray or sculpture, however completely of the second.
He has excelled at what the French name désucrage or de-sweetening/moderating the extent of added sugar in favor of unveiling the pure sugars in different components like fruits and top quality darkish chocolate. In actual phrases, this implies you possibly can style the nuanced textures in his fruit-based desserts as a result of they aren’t masked by added sugar. However past that, it’s his mastery of stability, taste and presentation that elevates his work above that of nearly all different cooks and has generated consideration from pastry colleges and college students all around the world. When he’s not within the kitchen growing his subsequent assertion piece (although it’s laborious to think about concocting something extra intricate and labor intensive than his sculptured fruit assortment or his Rubik’s cake), he could be discovered main grasp lessons all over the place from Malaysia to Russia and Australia, concurrently boosting the lodge’s identify recognition in markets historically dominated by Asian lodge teams (Le Meurice is a part of Dorchester Assortment).
Up till final month, his beautiful creations had been reserved for tea time friends of Le Meurice. Which means, reserving a desk and spending just a few hours with formal service. Although the lodge’s tea time expertise and à la carte pastry menu are priced comparably to different high-end motels all over the world (together with most excessive tea experiences in London), it stays a extra expensive affair. That definitely hasn’t prevented an inflow of impassioned pastry fanatics to make use of their journey funds towards an unparalleled gastronomic expertise however the ambiance could be intimidating, inaccessible even, for the uninitiated. Now, there’s a barely extra democratic place to get your arms on Grolet’s confections.
Across the nook from the lodge’s entrance on rue de Castiglione is a sliver of a boutique the place a brief number of Grolet’s pastries can be found for take-away. It additionally serves as a lab for his staff: the primary station to the left whenever you enter serves because the preparation and ending space for the madeleines, kouglofs and out-of-this world cookies (peanuts and caramel) which can be replenished all through the day and all served contemporary from the oven, seen behind the area.
Then, it’s over to the 5 haute pâtisseries of the second which can be priced from 7 euros to, sure, 17 euros — let’s not neglect, these are nonetheless Palace lodge confections. Nonetheless, when you think about the worth we are sometimes keen to pay for a cocktail or a glass of Champagne, there’s no motive an artisanal product like pastry, ready utilizing the market’s top-shelf components, ought to warrant gasps. On prime of that, the time it takes to arrange one among Grolet’s trompe l’oeil lemons or apples is well worth the price ticket alone. And when you’re not consuming pastry like this day-after-day (you’re not, proper?) it’s slightly luxurious price experiencing.
Every deal with is tucked neatly inside a memento field and able to be loved outdoors or, ideally if climate permits, within the Tuileries Gardens throughout the road. Anticipate strains and go earlier than or proper at opening to make sure you can stroll away with one among these prized creations: portions are restricted.
If I could advocate one of many 5 signature pastries out there for the time being: I urge you attempt to the tarte au chocolat (proven second from the left within the prime picture). It sounds fundamental sufficient, maybe much less adventurous than the fruit-leaning desserts at first look. However the play on textures, the harmonious stability of candy and bitter, the graceful mouthfeel had me euphoric. When you have even the slightest affection for chocolate, this tarte shall be a revelation (and possibly set your requirements larger, because it did for me).
I’ve talked about how cooks and pastry cooks have been elevated to close celebrities, a pattern that’s definitely not distinctive to France. More often than not that veneration comes throughout as extreme and unfounded. However I’ve spent fairly a little bit of time with Cédric, speaking about his profession, understanding his method and observing his evolution and I can say that he deserves the fanfare. Not solely as a result of his unmatched expertise shines via every new recipe however as a result of he’s dwelling out his childhood fantasy and that signifies that everlasting smile on his face isn’t disingenuous, it’s an indication of unabashed pleasure. He enjoys each second of the journey and assembly each admirer or aspiring pastry chef he encounters. The humility and love for the craft that radiates from Grolet — qualities we generally blithely ascribe to all artisans, even when unwarranted, by dint of their professions — has introduced him this far. I can’t wait to see the place he takes the business subsequent.
La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet
6 rue de Castiglione, 75001
Metro Tuileries (line 1)
Open Tuesday-Sunday, midday till they promote out
+Do your self a favor and comply with Grolet on Instagram
+For extra about Paris pastry cooks, learn my story within the March challenge of British Airways’ Excessive Life journal