Simply Irresistible

Simply Irresistible

“Keep it simple,” says the Hôtel Plaza Athénée’s award-winning pastry chef Christophe Michalak. “Simple things are often the best.” To ordinary mortals, of course, the only thing simple about Michalak’s gorgeous desserts is how easy it will be to polish them off, down to the last glazed raspberry.

Born in Picardy, the 37-year-old Michalak says he was a famous flan fanatic as a child, but not particularly destined for the pastry kitchen. “I dreamed of becoming an artist, or an architect, or a photographer.” Then he got a job in a small restaurant, and “learned by doing”, working his way up through pastry school and stints in London, Brussels, Tokyo, Nice, New York with Pierre Hermé and then Paris, at Fauchon and Ladurée, before landing at the Plaza Athénée.

What he aims for: “Elegance, and equilibrium—not too sweet, not too bitter. Consistency and texture are just as important as taste.” His two books, C’est du Gâteau! and the just-published Les Desserts Qui Me Font Craquer (desserts I can’t resist) are currently available only in French. The irresistibles here are on his autumn menu at the hotel.

Originally published in the November 2010 issue of France Today.

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