French sensation conquers the pastry world
French pastry chef Cédric Grolet has hardly been keeping a low profile of late – between a stellar career dotted with accolades and an Instagram following close to the one-million milestone, the international sensation has been attracting the attention of the culinary world, culminating in him winning the title of The World’s Best Pastry Chef 2018, sponsored by Sosa.
Now the head pastry chef of Le Meurice hotel in Paris, Grolet took a liking to pastry early in his life, as he grew up in and around his grandparents' restaurant near Saint Etienne in the Loire valley. With his first apprenticeship at the age of 13 and an education at the renowned Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie in Yssingeaux, Grolet was well-placed to enjoy a quick ascent into the gastronomic world.
Moving to Paris at the age of 21 turned out to be one of Grolet’s best moves, as he soon took a role at iconic pâtisserie company Fauchon in the French capital, with whom he travelled around the world absorbing different influences while training new teams, before joining Le Meurice as a sous pastry chef six years later.
Grolet’s impeccable technique means that his style – striking trompe l’oeil desserts that are not what they seem and impressive edible sculptures featuring fruit and spices combinations – has remained a constant, but his approach to sweetness and flavours changed upon joining Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse. It was chef Ducasse who encouraged Grolet to find his own style and to highlight the natural flavours of the ingredients in his creations.
Among Grolet’s signature desserts is Rubik’s Cake, a colourful cube made with fresh fruits and filled with ganache, as well as his own version of the traditional French apple tart, tarte aux pommes, with fine slices of apple twisted into the shape of a rose. His trompe l’oeil sculpted fruits feature impossibly thin layers of chocolate and sugar to deceive the sight, while delighting the other senses.
Among Grolet’s latest achievements is the publishing of his first photo and cookbook, Fruits, as well as the opening of Le Meurice’s Pastry Boutique in March 2018, located on Paris’ 1st arrondissement, where locals and tourists alike can taste the pastry chef’s unique creations and his own interpretations of French classics, such as St Honoré cake and madeleines.
At the age of only 32, Grolet has already achieved a lot – but following his call to create light and exquisite desserts and powered by his creativity and tenacity, there are surely many more finish lines that the pastry chef is still to cross.
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Read the interview with Cédric Grolet