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What's the one dish that pastry genius Pierre Hermé will make a pilgrimage for while he's in NYC? It's not pastry, and it's not fancy.
First of all, Congratulations to Pierre Hermé who has just won The World's Best Pastry Chef!
On Monday morning, I met Hermé for breakfast in the Library Room at the Nomad Hotel. In a few hours, the dessert maestro would win the big pastry chef award at the 2016 World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards. He's the third chef to win the title, following in the very illustrious footsteps of Jordi Roca and Albert Adrià.
I have a tip on Hermé's upcoming award, so I say Congratulations! But what to say afterwards? It can't have been a surprise to him—he's in his own league in the genius pastry kitchen department. Hermé, who is the youngest person ever to win Pastry Chef of the Year in France, is known for his extraordinary and gorgeous desserts, which he sells from jewel box stores in Paris and Tokyo in haute cuisine-worthy packaging. His macarons are epic; he's known for his brilliant flavor combinations that change seasonally, like fashion (the classic Mogador, a mix of passionfruit and chocolate happens to be my favorite).
Because there are only so many variations on the Congratulations/Thank You theme, Hermé and I talk about what he's eaten since he arrived in NYC over the weekend. Is he going on a pizza tour? Hitting some of our awesome bakeries? Going to the fancy places? Well, he had a very good pie at Marta, but that's pretty much the extent of his pizza travels. He's having lunch at Le Bernardin; he wants to see his friend Eric. Then he mentions the surprise dish he makes a pilgrimage for--Lobster rolls, from Pearl Oyster Bar. (Jeffrey Steingarten took him there years ago; Hermé makes a point of going there whenever he's in New York.) "Toujours the lobster roll," says Hermé.
So how will he celebrate after his win that night? There are a lot of parties afterwards, he notes. What he's looking forward to is a meeting the next day with America's most magical pastry chef, Dominique Ansel. They've met briefly a few times; this will be their first real meeting. "I hope he saves me a cronut," says Hermé smiling.