2019 Jessica Prealpato
Born into a dynasty of pastry chefs in Mont de Marsan , in southwestern France, Jessica Préalpato was undoubtedly always destined to reach the pinnacle of sweet cuisine. Growing up surrounded by the bountiful natural produce of the Landes and her parents' aprons in the kitchen, she developed a love for desserts that would define her career.
Now the pastry chef of the Parisian restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée , Préalpato has developed her passion in a cooking style that complements Ducasse's "natural cuisine". She has created her own style of baking, which emphasizes enhancing essential flavors and reducing the use of sugar, as "desserality" (combination of dessert and naturalness). She made a name for herself around the world and was awarded the title of best pastry chef in the world 2019.
Based on the principle that desserts should pay homage to the products, Préalpato today deploys creations that use simple French ingredients - such as peanuts from the Hautes-Pyrénées or citrus fruits from the countryside near Perpignan in south-eastern France. - and highlight their flavors, striving to find a pure way to express their natural qualities.
The result is minimalist, fruity desserts that forego heavy creams, sugars and batters in favor of lighter elements. In Préalpato's vision, citrus fruits are accompanied by an airy version of teurgoule (a rice pudding from Normandy), while fresh strawberries are served simply with soy milk.
A student of psychology in his early days, Préalpato soon realized that the lure of pastry was too strong and moved to Biarritz to study the culinary arts. Her career began at the Chèvre d'Or on the Côte d'Azur with starred chef Philippe Labbé, which quickly led her to work with other renowned chefs, such as Philippe Etchebest at the Hostellerie de Plaisance and the Ibarboure brothers at the Ibarboure Brothers in Bidart.
Moving to Paris in 2010, Préalpato was part of the team that spearheaded the opening of Fréderic Vardon's 39V restaurant in the French capital, where she remained to become sous-chef at Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme . A position as pastry chef for the Corfou group between 2012 and 2015 allowed her to travel throughout France and the world, broadening her knowledge and expertise in the culinary field.
When she joined Alain Ducasse's team at the Plaza Athénée as pastry chef in 2015, Ms Préalpato found inspiration in the natural culinary philosophy of Ducasse and head chef Romain Meder , reviewing and adapting its style to match the general ethos of the restaurant. His very current style, which is in line with current trends in gastronomy for the reduction of sugars and the purity of flavors, has earned him this prestigious title.
2018 Cedric Grolet
After winning a new title of best pastry chef in the world in 2018, Cédric Grolet is the hottest pastry chef in the world right now. We find out why the fruit defined his career and some of the secrets behind his unique desserts.
As Cédric Grolet takes the stage to receive his award for best pastry chef in the world, his nearly one million Instagram followers heave a collective sigh. In a world increasingly sensitized to issues of nutrition and healthy eating, the young sensation's unique trompe l'oeil fruits - sweet creations that appear pristine from reality - and have captured the attention of culinary stars and foodies around the world.
Delighted with his prize - the latest in a series of international awards - Grolet is determined not to stop in his search for the most delicious pastries. "This award makes me extremely happy," he says, "but it also puts me under indirect pressure. Today, we don't just have to bake, we have to bake the best pastry in the world. But I always trying to outdo myself and do better."
A pastry chef since the age of 13, Grolet grew up in the Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France, where his grandparents ran a restaurant. But what he remembers most from his youth are the fruit his mother gave him as a healthy snack: fresh, colorful and tasty produce, often picked straight from the tree.
Today, Grolet's sculpted fruits - from strawberries to lemons and hazelnuts - have become his signature as well as the subject of his first book, published in the fall of 2017 and aptly titled Fruits. Grolet is as much about paying homage to these natural wonders as it is about giving them an eye-catching presentation. However, these two aspects are put to the service of flavor, ensuring that the taste of each fruit can shine through in a natural and pure way.
“I try to create pastries with as little sugar as possible and where the taste prevails over everything else,” he says. "It is really important for me to highlight what nature can offer by creating my pastries according to the seasons and the products available at this time of the year".
A dessert such as Le Citron , for example, is created with homemade lemon curd, poached lemons, white chocolate and yuzu ganache, and a lemon coating. A realistic imitation of rough lemon skin is achieved by using lemon sugar spray and finishing the dessert with a golden airbrush.
Always passionate about sweets and desserts, Grolet did an apprenticeship at age 13, then continued her studies at the famous Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie in Yssingeaux . In 2006, he landed a job at Fauchon in Paris, an iconic pastry company where he worked with pastry chef Christophe Adam. Five years later, he became sous-chef at the historic hotel in the French capital, Le Meurice. When Alain Ducasse took over the Le Meurice restaurant in 2013, he gave Grolet the chance to create the dessert menu - and the rest is history.
Under Ducasse's leadership, Grolet set out to create a pastry offering that was not overly sweet and that favored natural flavors, encouraged by the French chef's disfavor for sugar. Quickly promoted to pastry chef, Grolet also spearheaded the opening of Le Meurice 's first patisserie in March 2018, where he showcases not only his trompe-l'oeil fruit, but also refreshing versions of classic French desserts and other pastries. creative, like Rubik's Cake.
As for what inspires him in today's culinary world, he mentions Melbourne's Lune Croissanterie, a sleek industrial space in Fitzroy whose pastries have been called "the best croissants in the world". "I find the idea very interesting because it's an original concept for displaying pastries," says Grolet. "It's about how they make them, present them, sell them, and the neighborhood they're in. There's a sincerity to the products, a respect for them, and a lot of indulgence!"
A chef no stranger to Instagram trends, Grolet even has his own hashtag ( #cgfruits ) where you can see his creations and those of his fans - professionals and amateurs - who follow Fruits' recipes and try to recreate the desserts of Grolet. He confesses that he is working on a new book, the details of which are still being worked out, but with so many accomplishments already under his belt at the age of 34, expectations are high for the best pastry chef in the world.
2016 Pierre Herme
The next time you dive into one of Pierre Hermé's macaroons , know that you will be tasting a delicious bite prepared by the best pastry chef in the world 2016, a title awarded to him by the 50 best restaurants in the world.
Pierre Hermé is to the macaroon what Louis Vuitton is to the handbag. Its dexterity with regard to this most complex delicacy has enabled it to become the most famous pastry chef in the world, and its penetration of the global luxury goods market is comparable to that of Vuitton and its peers with nearly 50 boutiques. namesakes around the world.
This is where Hermé's obsession with the most careful and time-consuming preparation in the world of pastry began. Over the course of his career, Hermé redefined the macaron , pioneering new techniques and creating bold flavor combinations including Pedro Ximénez and raisin, olive oil and vanilla, fig and foie gras.
Born in Alsace, France, Hermé began his career at the age of 14. At just 24, he was managing the production of pastries at Fauchon , a Parisian high-end food merchant, where he remained for more than ten years. In 1997, he played a key role in transforming the French patisserie Ladurée into a global brand. In 1998, he started his own business by opening a pastry shop in Tokyo. His designs quickly gained cult status and, since the early 2000s,
Hermé has built what you might call a boutique empire in places as diverse as Thailand , Germany, South Korea and Azerbaijan. At 54, Hermé also finds the time to oversee two restaurants at the Le Royal Monceau hotel in Paris. Its elaborate displays take the hotel buffet to hitherto unknown heights.
Macarons may be his specialty, but Hermé masters the rest of the pastry chef's repertoire. He has published books on everything from pies to plated desserts, and has also contributed to some of the world's most important culinary references, including Larousse Gastronomique .
Dubbed the "Picasso of pastry" by French Vogue , Hermé is as lavishly decorated as his pastry creations. He was the youngest person to be named pastry chef of the year in France and was also awarded the Legion d'Honneur.
Pierre Hermé was also elected president of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie for his talent as a pastry cook and his international prestige.
The chef, one of the most renowned pastry chefs in the world, succeeds MOF Gabriel Paillasson, who becomes the honorary president of this prestigious competition which he founded 30 years ago. Hermé will perpetuate the values that characterize the competition, in particular excellence and the exchange of knowledge and skills.
Although the next edition of the Cup will not take place before 2021, the European Pastry Cup will take place in January 2020 as part of Europain. https://www.cmpatisserie.com/
2012 Cyril Lignac
Cyril Lignac is not just a pastry chef: the influential icon of French gastronomy has inscribed his name on more than 40 cookbooks, owns two bistros and also has a Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Quinzieme.
Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac offers a healthy combination of traditional and unconventional pastries. As the rich, boozy version of the classic rum baba is coated in an apricot glaze that shimmers under the shop lights and is topped off with a swirl of homemade bourbon vanilla whipped cream.
For a beautifully surreal take on the art of pastry in Paris, check out Equinoxe , a characteristic matte gray cake accented with shimmering red dots. This industrial-looking cake is actually light and fluffy, made with a light Bourbon vanilla cream, crispy speculoos biscuits and a salted butter caramel center. It's definitely not the kind of pastry you can judge by its appearance.
Benoît Couvrand , associate of Cyril Lignac and director of the two Parisian patisseries, creates non-traditional preparations that make passers-by drool, such as raspberry tarts, where each berry is filled with an intensely flavored compote, or delicate macaroons in decidedly sophisticated varieties, such as lemon verbena.
Luckily for people who live nearby, the pastries are some of the best in Paris. At the end of the day, there are slices of flan pâtissier , a popular snack almost obligatory in traditional Parisian patisseries because children stop there for their afternoon snack, as well as many adults who appreciate to rediscover their childhood memories.
The breads are just as impressive, from the gigantic sourdough ball to the fine traditional baguettes that Parisians love, each loaf was baked until it was cracked, against the trend in Paris for baguettes not too much cooked.
Cyril Lignac has taken over a little corner of the 11th arrondissement with a bistro, a pastry shop, and his chocolate factory, devoted (unsurprisingly) to all things chocolate. Here, the hot, creamy chocolate pairs perfectly with one of the other delicacies prepared by the pastry chef. We have a preference for the buttery pain au chocolat, but those who can't get enough sweetness might prefer another house specialty: a chocolate -covered marshmallow bear.
2005 Christopher Michalak
In the early 90s, Christophe Michalak began his journey which would take him around the world. After London, he returned to France in 1993 and worked at the Hotel Negresco in Nice for two years, then at Fauchon until 1997. He flew to Kobe in Japan for a year to open a bakery, then to New York where he was a consultant for Pierre Hermé (1998-1999).
Back in Paris, after passing through Ladurée, he became pastry chef at the Plaza Athénée hotel in 2000. The dedication comes in 2005, he wins the title of Best Pastry Chef in the world. Passionate about his profession, Christophe Michalak began to write books in which he revealed some of the secrets of his pastry.
In 2007, he published his first cookbook, "Piece of Cake". Since then, he has published several tasty variations: "Desserts that make me crack", "Chocolate makes me crack", "The cake of my dreams" and "The best desserts in France".
In September 2013, he opened a pastry school in Paris, the Masterclass Michalak , and owns three "Pâtisserie Christophe Michalak" stores in Paris.
Nothing, however, seems to predispose this young Picard to what the French rightly call the "boutiques" or, in other words, the culinary trade.
As a child, he wanted to become a designer, a sign of his already well-developed artistic sense; unable to enter the Beaux-Arts , he became professionally active: "When I started at 15, I understood in a flash of lucidity that you could give a lot of happiness with very little. You cannot be pastry chef without being generous and loving food; my job allows me to express myself through my creations; then, the desire to bring pleasure to others captivated me", he recalls.
At 16, he began a collection of culinary reference books, which he continues to enrich. He also develops his memory of flavours, an essential tool for the master pastry chef: "I imposed constraints on myself, life shaped me", he admits.
The first to graduate from his school, he decided to learn his trade by traveling around the world and its cultures.
With his usual humility, Christophe Michalak adds: "It's not reaching the top that's important, it's staying there".
Every day, this eternal food lover develops his desire to surprise us and revisit the great classics of pastry . We owe Michalak dozens of desirable sweets such as the Salt Butter Caramel Religieuse, the Peach Melba Macaroons or the famous Marshmallow Love Bears!
And to add: "I dress my cakes as a couturier would dress women; the beautiful and the good are one! The absolute joy of seeing the pleasure and the anticipation in the eyes of the customers has not of price".
Sensitive and passionate, he decides to create trends but, above all, he decides not to follow them.
Christophe likes to repeat this mythical quote from Bob Kennedy:
"There are those who look at things as they are, and wonder why...I dream of things that never were, and wonder why not?"