Pierre Herme Biography – The Picasso of Pastry
Pierre Herme was born on November 20, 1961 in France. He just had to be French to be able to bring the art into his pastries. He is most known for his macarons, especially for the unusual flavors or combinations he creates, but also for his well written books, such as Le Larousse des Desserts, Plaisirs Sucres or Chocolate Desserts. One of the things that stands out about him is his cooking philosophy. He prefers delicate, subtle decorations and uses sugar in the same way salt is being used in savory cooking, just to enhance the other flavors without ever overwhelming them. His desserts are never overly sweet, but always full of flavors that just work together and flood your senses with aroma. To be fully honest with you, I love this way of seeing desserts. I’ve never been a huge fan of sugar and I remember eating once a cake so sweet that it made me cringe. The other flavors in the cake, chocolate and coffee, were simply overwhelmed by the amount of sugar. That sweetness just left your taste buds numb for a while. So I understand his philosophy and I couldn’t agree more.
Pierre Herme began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice in Paris with the renowned patissier Gaston Lenôtre. In an interview he was asked what he dreamt about when he was little and he said: “Architecture. I like building things and, actually, pastry is not far from architecture. It’s about the architecture of flavors. When we make a cake, it’s often through creating layers of the flavors. We make it so that it corresponds to the flavors we imagine”.
He wasn’t exactly a novice in the pastry kitchen since his family had an Alsatian bakery for four generations already. So he was born with it, he grew up with pastries and loved every aspect of making desserts. Herme became pastry chef at the age of 24 and he aimed for haute pattisserie rather than settle for the common desserts and flavors at that time. He worked at Fauchon for 11 years and he left it to start working with the famous Laduree in Paris. He said in an interview about his start in the pastry kitchen: “At Lenotre I learnt my trade, what quality is, organizational skills, discipline and exactitude, so really the things that are the bottom line in my trade. At Fauchon, I was able to create and express my style, both very important stages. Laduree was where I was able to put it all in place and move above pastry to ensure the transition and evolution of that enterprise. In one year Laduree went from a little bakery in paris to a big brand name. When I arrived, there was not a lot of organization, they didn’t have a logo”.
But despite of the fame Laduree brought him, he wanted to start on his own so in 1996 he started Pierre Herme Paris with an associate, but since he was still under contract with Laduree, he couldn’t open a store in Paris. The first store was open in Tokyo in 1998, followed by Salon De The in 2000. Four years later he opened another store in Paris, followed by another one in Tokyo which he says it displays his evolution as patissier. There are over seven stores in Tokyo at the moment, many stores and boutiques in Paris, two in Lodon, some in Hong Kong and some Arab countries, as well as one online store.
His most famous and appreciated desserts are certainly his macarons. He is the champion of making macarons, bringing decadence into these little desserts. He proved to the world that art comes in simple things and bold flavors. He is definitely not afraid of flavors, spices, colors and textures and uses them all to make his desserts perfect. His most famous macaron is the Ispahan – an amazing combination of rose, raspberry and lychee which he calls his “Chanel suit”.
What I particularly love about Pierre Herme is the simplicity and yet the complexity of his desserts. At a first glance at his desserts, you would think they look simple and so elegant, but only a pastry chef could know how much work it is behind it, how much work it takes to obtain such a clean and elegant look, but at the same time modern and unique. Not to mention the interior which has to be innovative and delicious. Pierre Herme shows so much passion for his creations, so much love for pastries and that is why he is currently the man who changed the face of modern pastry.
Since he opened his own stores, he makes bi-annual collections of pastries which are inspired by haute couture or other popular designs, sometimes with surprising themes such as Fetish, White or Desire. About his desserts, he says: ” We are not Protect&Gamble. We don’t make products that the customer wants – we make an offer to the customer”. Suprisingly, he then adds: “the wishes of the customer don’t matter to me at all”. I love how he expresses this thought because he sees himself as an artist, his work is not commercial, but a piece of edible art. His customers are those who love and appreciate dessert at itstrue value, people who would pay for quality over quantity. Would you prefer a painting that has been made in a factory in dozens of pieces or an original Picasso?! You’d definitely choose the latter because it’s a guarantee of quality. And it’s the same with Pierre Herme’s desserts. He’s an artist just like any other artist, but he makes edible art, to the delight of our taste buds. Pierre Herme is the definition of sweet perfection, bold flavors and perfectly constructed desserts.
Picture source: Google
Pierre Herme s-a nascut la 20 noiembrie 1961 in Franta. E cunoscut pentru faimosii lui macarons si pentru combinatiile neobisnuite pe care le face atunci cand creeaza noi deserturi, insa si pentru cartile sale bine scrise si puse la punct cu tot ce inseamna cofetarie moderna, tehnici noi si ingrediente de calitate – Le Larousse des Desserts, Plaisirs Sucres si Chocolate Desserts sunt doar cateva dintre ele. Insa pe langa tehnica lui perfecta si aromele incredibile, lucrul care il separa de multi alti cofetari e filosofia lui de lucru. Prefera deserturile delicate, decoratiile subtile, simple, elegante, minimaliste si foloseste zaharul exact cum sares este folosita in retetele sarate – doar pentru a intensifica gustul, aromele si nu pentru a le acoperi. Gustul final al desertului e o infuzie de arome si nu doar dulce. Scopul unui desert nu e de a manca zahar in stare pura, ci de a realiza o armonie de arome si texturi si Pierre Herme imbratiseaza aceasta filosofie cu succes.
Pierre Herme si-a inceput cariera la varsta de 14 ani lucrand ca ajutor de cofetar in Paris, alaturi de cunoscutul patiser Gaston Lenotre. Intr-un interviu in anii ce au urmat, intrebat ce visa sa devina cand era copil, Pierre Herme declara: “Arhitect. Imi place sa contruiesc lucruri si, sa fiu sincer, cofetaria nu e departe de arhitectura. E despre arhitectura aromelor. Cand facem un tort, ne gandim cum sa cream straturi de arome si toate acestea ni le imaginam inainte.” Cu toate acestea, el nu era chiar un novice in bucatarie daca luam in considerare faptul ca familia sa detinea o brutarie Alsaciana ce era deja la a patra generatie. El se nascuse cu acest talent in sange, crescuse cu dulciuri si deserturi si iubea fiecare aspect al acestei lumi.
Pierre Herme devine cofetar cu acte in regula la varsta de 24 ani si atunci isi propune sa atinga un nivel de patiserie inalt, isi propune sa depaseasca combinatiile comune de arome si se indreapta spre cofetaria moderna cu arome si combinatii inedite, interesante. A lucrat 11 ani la Fauchon apoi s-a alaturat echipei Laduree din Paris. Despre anii petrecuti aici el spunea intr-un interviu: “La Lenotre am invatat notiuni de baza, abilitati organizatorice, disciplina si acuratete, lucruri care stau la baza meseriei de cofetar. La Fauchon am avut posibilitatea sa folosesctoate aceste cunostinte si experienta acelor ani pentru a depasi limitele cofetariei din acele timpuri. Intr-un an sub conducerea mea, Laduree a evoluat de la o mica cofetarie din Paris la un brand de renume international. Cand am ajuns eu la ei, nici macar nu aveau un logo.”
Insa in ciuda faimei pe care Laduree i-a adus-o, el vroia sa-si inceapa propria afacere. In 1996, impreuna cu un asociat, au pus bazele Pierre Herme Paris. Insa pentru ca era inca sub contract cu Laduree nu putea sa-si deschida cofetarie in Paris. Asa ca prima cofetarie si primul magazin au fost deschise in Tokyo in 1998, urmate de Salon de The in 2000. Patru ani mai tarziu a deschis a doua cofetarie in Paris, urmata de inca una in Tokyo. Au urmat altele in Paris, Londra, Tokyo, Hong Kong si cateva tari arabe, precum si un magazin online.
Desertul care l-a facut celebru in intreaga lume este in mod cert macarons. Herme este maestrul macaronsilor si reinventeaza mereu aceste mici minunatii ale cofetariei adaugand noi arome, texturi si culori, transformand macarons in adevarate opere de arta. Probabil cel mai cunoscut fel de macarons este Ispahan – o combinatie extraordinara de trandafir, zmeura si lychee pe care el o numeste “costumul lui Chanel”.
Ce imi place in mod deosebit la Pierre Herme este simplitatea si totusi complexitatea deserturilor sale. Doar privind deserturile sale te gandesti ca sunt atat de simple si probabil atat de usor de facut, insa doar un cofetar stie cata munca se ascunde in spatele simplitatii, cata munca e necesara pentru a obtine acel aspect perfect finisat si elegant, dar in acelasi timp modern si unic. Insa dupa ce treci de exterior, descoperi interiorul fiecarui desert si ramai uimit din nou. Deserturile lui Herme sunt mereu inovative, delicioase peste masura si unice daca luam in considerare combinatiile inedite. Pentru aceste motive, Pierre Herme este considerat cel care a schimbat fata cofetariei moderne, cel care i-a imprimat un curs modern, un stil nou si a deschis portile spre ceea ce este cofetaria astazi, dar mai ales spre multitudinea de posibilitati pe care o ofera.
De cand si-a deschis propria afacere, Pierre Herme realizeaza colectii anuale de deserturi, inspirate din marile colectii de fashion si cateodata si colectiile lui au teme surprinzatoare, precum Desire (Dorinta) sau Fetish. Despre deserturile sale, Pierre Herme spunea: “Nu suntem Protect&Gamble. Nu facem produse pe care clientul le vrea sau de care are nevoie – noi facem o oferta clientilor.”, adaugand apoi ca “dorinta clientilor nu are nicio importanta in tot acest proces.” Si trebuie sa recunosc ca are dreptate intrucat el se vede drept un artist si nu un producator in masa de deserturi. Munca sa nu e ceva comercial, ci o bucatica de arta comestibila. Clientii lui sunt cei care apreciaza deserturile adevarate, aromele si combinatiile inedite, sunt oameni care prefera calitatea peste cantitate. Pana la urma cu totii ne dorim un Picasso adevarat si nu un tablou facut in zeci de exemplare, nu-i asa?! La fel si cu deserturile lui Pierre Herme. El si-a creat un renume de artist, singura diferenta fiind ca arta lui e comestibila si nu rezista poate doar cateva ore.
Pierre Herme este fara doar si poate sinonim cu perfectiunea in materie de deserturi, arome intense, combinatii inedite si deserturi construite cu o mana de arhitect si ochi de artist. Este un om pe care sa-l admiram, dar mai ales de la care sa invatam!
Sura foto: Google