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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Francois Payard at the 92nd St. Y

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

Francois Payard made an appearance at the 92nd St. Y this week at their Daytime Talks series, sponsored by Kitchen Arts and Letters bookstore, which caters to professional chefs and casual cooks, with over 13,000 titles in stock. I have yet to visit there, but I am putting it on my list of Must-Sees.

I love hearing from smart people who are passionate about what they do, and Payard certainly fits that bill. He was there to talk about his new book, Payard Desserts, which contains recreated recipes from his days as a pastry chef at such esteemed restaurants as Le Bernadin and Daniel, as well as from his own Payard Patisseries.

He had planned on making squid ink macarons for us, but there was no oven or stove, so we had to settle for macarons he brought in. (Poor us!) After his talk, we got to taste chocolate, passionfruit, vanilla bean, raspberry lycee, and my favorite pistchio. I'm not a macaron fan, but these were delicious- not too sweet or crunchy, but pillowy. We actually stopped at Francois Payard's Patisserie on 74th and 3rd Ave. on the way home to stock up.
Macarons from Francois Payard's

Payard spoke about the importance of using fresh, seasonal ingredients (he like to visit the Union Square Greenmarket to get his in NYC), as well as his work with a new type of sugar that has 25% of the calories of regular sugar without giving up much of the taste. He hopes to be able to use that soon.

The book is not a coffee table book, but I think it is one for people who have more than moderate skills in baking. Baking is a science, according to Payard, in addition to being artistic. It takes years of study as well as practice to master the skills.

With Thanksgiving coming up, he told us that it is not necessary to make everything the day of, he encouraged us to make use of our freezer. Make pastry crusts and breads ahead of time and freeze them, make the stuffing the day before, spread out the work so you are not going crazy on Thanksgiving day.

Macaron shells are not easy to make, but he did say if you have macarons, it is important to put them in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then take them out three hours before you want to eat them. He told us there will be a big announcement next week on his website concerning macarons, so I'll include the link if you are interested.

Francois Payard at 92nd St. Y
Payard says that he "drives his employees crazy", but he drives himself crazy as well. People like him are perfectionists, and that might make him difficult to work with, but it is also why he is at the top of his profession.

Francois Payard's website is here.
Kitchen Arts and Letters website is here.
More information about Payard Desserts is here.


  1. If I come to NY I am definitely going to that store - we do have one cookbook store in Auckland but it is pretty small. Cheers

  2. I know your intention is not to drive me mad with jealousy, but you have! But the next best thing to living in NYC is getting to read your wonderful posts about all the fabulous foodie things you get to experience. Keep on making me jealous, I love it!

  3. One of my local chocolatiers makes macarons and they are heavenly! How wonderful that you got to see Payard talk.

  4. I wish I lived in NYC I would be there all the time. I have never visited Francois store in Paris but plan to on my next visit. I noticed that TJ has individual pecan pies and pecan pie ice-cream. Last time i was in Paris I met a man who supplied tarts to T. Joes. He asked me where I lived and then asked if I was familiar with T. Joes. He had the best little store where I purchased so many items from.

  5. What a wonderful opportunity! Such an interesting person to hear and I love his Thanksgiving advice.

  6. Next time I ever visit New York, I'm definitely heading for some of those macrons. I adore them, and pistachio is usually my favourite flavour too. I don't think I would ever be brave enough to try making them though.

  7. Oh, so jealous! We don't have cool events and guest speakers like this. But of course, you are in NY so you must have so many great opportunities. Nice store, good looking macaroons.

  8. I don't' live that far from NYC but I never think about going into the city and I really should go to some of these wonderful events.

  9. Sounds like a fantastic bookstore to visit next trip to New York!

  10. You go to the best events!! Sure wish I could spend more time in the city...