Buzz "Let Them Eat Cake" Edition

By Margaret Kemp ET/OU (Métis, métis & métissage). What? The Greeks had a word for it and Pierre Hermé has taken his inspiration for his Spring-Summer 2003 collection, not only from those fabulous Greeks, using cross cultural references of textures and tastes. Come on, it’s only a cake! Well it may be only a cake to you, but to Hermé his craft is métissage, a mode of intermingling in the creation of sensory illusions. Buy, say, Surprise 11 (melting meringue with strawberry-rhubarb and passionfruit mingling in the mouth) and you’re buying into Hermé’s carefully thought out meaning of life.
 

To launch his collection, Hermé produced a “runway” show at 1728, the former home of General Lafayette, now transformed into an eclectic restaurant, art gallery, salon de thé and private dining club. Hermés’ team, dressed in Persil Whites, showed the cakes. Then we ate them; a perfect afternoon. The Dior of Desserts had done it again. Wow! In they swirled with Peach macaroons filled with peaches, saffron and apricots: Kouign-Aman cakes with red fruits, and Tango, a magnificent creation of shortcrust pasty with sesame seeds, two types of parmesan, stewed and fresh raspberries, red bell peppers and sweet almond tuile. Then there’s Intuition, Emotion Découverte, Emotion Métisse—which comes layered in glasses—and Sorbets Satine et Garance.
 

“My creations are based on the concept of métissage, in constant motion, changing with me as my sensitivity evolves”, explains Hermé. “The secret is alchemy. Take Emotion Métissé, as a pastry chef, I wanted to give my own interpretation of this carrot and orange mixture inspired by a traditional Moroccan recipe. By cooking the carrot with oranges and cinnamon, it is transformed from vegetable to fruit”. See, it’s easy when you know how. Take Intuition, which looks like a strawberry tart. Wrong!
 

“In recent years—inspired by my friends Lyndsay and Patrick Mikanowski, whose book Tomato re-examines and sheds new light on this vegetable/fruit—I have looked at tomatoes in a new light”. Hermé says that after composing many tomato desserts he is using it for the first time in a cake. So, crystallized tomato is used in a concentrate of flavours, a subtle acidity is revealed by adding baked lemon cream with the consistency of a crème brûlée. The finishing touch is a tartar of strawberries and raw tomatoes. “Words alone cannot accurately describe emotions”, says Hermé. “That’s why I invent things I love to eat, pleasure is my only guide!”.
 

The Pierre Hermé Spring-Summer Collection
72 rue Bonaparte, 6th
Métro: Saint Sulpice
T: 01 43 54 47 77 (take-away)
 

The New Otani
4-1 Kioi-Cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (take-away)
319, Ikspiari 1-4 Maihama, Urayasu-shi, Chiba-ken (salon de thé)

And:

1728
8 rue d’Anjou, 8th
Métro: Concorde/Madeleine,
T: 01 40 17 04 77.
The first objects you spot at Café Colette, in the basement of Colette, the concept store, is a selection of Pierre Hermé patisserie. Displayed like jewels; selling like hot cakes. Then you see La Superette a mini-supermarket set up by Frederick Grasser Hermé. Any relation? Yes, she’s his wife. What a couple. “We’re culinary intellectuals”, explains Frederick, arranging some Heinz Green Ketchup, she’s just brought them back from Miami, on the metal shelves.


Every six weeks FEGH gives La Demonstration, sets up her SEB Clipso pressure cooker, brings herbs and funky products from all over the world, invites a celebrity chef as her 2nd and le tout Paris turns up to watch and taste. “I’ve eaten such awful food in friend’s homes, I’ve decided to show how easy it is to make something simple and delicious”, explains FEGH (naming no names!). For this dynamic woman SEB pressure cookers are her lifesaver. “Friends arrive unexpectedly, take a packet of coquillettes Lustucru (available in La Superette) add a few more ingredients, put the lot on the pressure cooker and shu shu shuuuuu….dinner is served.
 

Pick up recipe leaflets from La Superette along with United Colours of Noodles, mini-sardines from Spain (pile them into mini-pastry shells for amuse bouche) and cous-cous Rice Tech. Better still see FEGH in action at Colette on 15th April at 16h precise. Her 2nd will be Miguel Sànchez Romera, the inventor of MICRI (a miracle calorie free thickening agent—made from cassava root—darling). You know Romera, he’s the Spanish self- taught Michelin starred chef who’s also a neurologist/scientist. Monday to Wednesday he’s head honcho at a clinic outside Barcelona. Wednesday-Sunday he’s in his restaurant filleting fish, killing lobsters! “The world of neurology is a world of pain. The world of kitchen is a world of pleasure”, says Romera. Not everybody will agree with that, but there you are….
 

Colette Superette,
213 rue Saint Honore, 8th
Métro: Tuilleries.
T: 01 55 35 33 93
 

L’Esguard,
Open Wednesdays through Sundays.
16 Passage de les Alzines
Saint Andreu de Llavaneres, Spain.
T: 00 34 93 792 7767.
 

Not a lot of people know:
That L’Astrance is now closing on the weekends, so the chances of getting a table are even less. Call 01 40 50 84 40 at 10hrs.
They only take 28 covers. Why no weekends? “We can’t get the staff”, explains Maitre d’hotel Christophe Rohat.
 

Astrance
4 rue Beethoven, 16th
Métro: Passy
T: 01 40 50 84 80 (keep trying, it’s worth it).
 
Ciao for now…..
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