Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Day With A French Pastry Chef

One bleak and foggy January Sunday I decided it was finally time to wake up at the crack of dawn, okay well dawn hadn't even broke yet.  It was 5:00 am when I sleepily rustled out of bed only a few weeks ago just so that I could leave the house by 5:30 am to witness french pastry art in the making.  I arrived 4 minutes early and already a french-born Austinite in a chef's coat was rolling out pastry dough with seriously rhythmic sway.  How he performed such edible magic every morning I could not tell you.   

Since September 2012, I've intended to premiere this one-on-one pastry post but a few details had to be worked out as it was my first interview session.  Ever.  So I do apologize for my crazy videographing.  I now understand why journalists bring along a crew.  In the meantime, John and I spent many Saturday mornings trekking up to the Barton Creek Farmer's Market to enjoy our favorite danishes.  The number one danish in our book and the one we introduced to our many friends, Allison Kate Lemp and Tracy Cook was the ever spectacular Spinach & Gruyere pastry.  Ridiculously delicious.  One bite into this mouthful of heaven and I instantly knew that I had to incorporate this pastry chef into my life whether it was with weekly trips to his bakery or with catered brunches for various events.   Just to embark upon ten minutes of what it could be to sit on a Parisian patio meant that it had to be shared with everyone.  And in what better American city than Austin to have a one-hand-held dish with spinach and gruyere, where you are free be yourself in whatever style you choose.  Heck we have a clothing optional park and beach for those who don't know.  Now that is some French inspiration.

I was very fortunate to spend time with Chef Loic at Cinnamon's Bakery.  I have studied french language, have french in my heritage and like many other stateside ladies my heart melts the moment the word's Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, croissant, or macaron is mentioned.  So when I got the invitation to wake up super early I jumped on it.  Why not witness the magic of pastries filled with mushrooms, pumpkin, almond, and chocolat?! Oh and I can't forget the Texas favorite the Big Pig, his twist on the Czech kolache. 

"French Pig.  Born with class." ~ Chef Loic Duchesne

It was nice to hear that the Chef appreciates the logic I live by.  I say bring on the creme and butter everyday.  My Take:  I wholeheartedly believe that the main reason many people in the United States suffer from obesity and such chronic illnesses is due to all of the preservatives and fillers they consume every single day.  I like more simple foods with less ingredients which is why I enjoy hand-making my dishes such as the Alfredo sauce to top my pasta.  I prefer the true and fresh flavors of food commonly practiced in European methods instead of the overabundance of the sugars and fillers that many american restaurants and bakeries use today.  I was thrilled to hear the chef's take on it.


Pictured below is a sweet special he has introduced for Valentine's Day.   The heart-shaped, rose flavored, pale pink macarons are served in a handcrafted white chocolate shell.  I got the honor to try one...and they really do taste like roses.  They were so good that I am craving one as I write this.   Many of you know that I am picky to the extreme when it comes to anything flavored, and these rose macarons surpassed my judgement.  

. . . and this is what became of one young french child who was on summer break with nothing to do many decades ago.  Him and his mom looked through the newspaper classifieds and found a pastry apprenticeship so he wouldn't sit around the house bored.

One week before I headed to the bakery for my scheduled one-on-one time Austin360 produced an article about Chef Loic.  They provided a good look into his background as a pastry chef.  You can check out the link below.



UPDATE ON 1/1/2014
Very unfortunate news reached my ears in December 2013 as I took one of my dearest friends to the Barton Creek Farmer's Market to enjoy the chef's pastries.  Chef Loic was struck with sudden illness in October 2013 and immediately passed away.

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