By Carly DeFilippo
This month, more than fifty guests gathered at ICE for a book signing with internationally renowned pastry chef Francois Payard. Most notably, the evening featured a recipe demonstration from his latest cookbook, Payard Desserts, which celebrates the chef’s signature desserts from more than twenty years in the industry.
A third generation pastry chef, Payard is no stranger to the rigor of superior production. At the beginning of the demonstration, he explained that while he may be perceived as stern, it is only with the utmost precision that the staff at his twelve international shops can provide consistently outstanding products.
And despite his straightforward style, it was clear that Payard has a certain passion for teaching, explaining that the demo was “not about showing what [he] can do, but about what you (the audience) can do.” It is with that spirit that Payard authored his latest book, requiring rigorous testing to ensure that his signature recipes could be reproduced at home.
The dish Payard chose to present was one of his most popular: Rice Crispies with Milk Chocolate and Crispy Chocolate Phyllo. From a production standpoint, it was a very practical dish at his restaurant, as all of the components could be prepared in advance. Moreover, all of the individual components featured flavors and textures that could easily be put to use in other desserts, empowering attendees with not only a new recipe, but a jumping-off point for their own creativity.
As he prepared the dish, Payard noted several times, “Being a pastry chef is easy; you just have to read and follow the recipe.” While some may debate that truth, the chef certainly made his process look easy, and guests left with more than their share of practical tips and tricks.