Monday, January 12, 2009

A Giant of a Pastry Chef

From Friday's N.Y. Times:

Gaston Lenôtre, founder of the restaurant, catering, retail and cooking school empire . . . died Thursday at his home in Sennely, in the Sologne region south of Paris. He was 88.

. . . Mr. Lenôtre was the exacting patriarch of French pâtisserie. He rejuvenated pastry making in the early 1960s and then created a worldwide group of 60 boutiques in 12 countries . . .

Pierre Hermé, one of France’s leading pastry chefs, who became an apprentice at Lenôtre at 14, recalled in a telephone interview Thursday that Mr. Lenôtre “dusted, lightened and modernized the heavy pastries of the 1950s.”
And this line from the obit article stuck out as a lovely piece of nostalgia:

Before World War II broke out, he peddled homemade chocolates in Paris on his bicycle for pocket money.
Instead of having a lot of bland, overly sweet Hershey-quality chocolate bars to choose from, I'd like to live in a country where street vendors are peddling homemade chocolates. Of course, I'd probably be a lot heavier than I am if I lived in a country like that.

No comments: