Ever since I graduated from Ferrandi I’ve been exposed to all kinds of pastry experiences here in Paris:  from the grand Plaza Athenee to the charming Tartes Kluger.  And during this time, I’ve been able to examine French pastry culture and to think about what motivates me.

Did you know that, in 2010, the “gastronomic meal of the French” was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list?  French chefs, academics and politicians spent two years lobbying for the honor.  To me, this is concrete proof that if you are born in France you have an ingrained passion for and appreciation of great cuisine.

Pear Belle Helene at Berthillon

Then, if you are French, and if you choose patisserie as your profession this passion takes different shapes.  For some it’s fame and celebrity, others find great creative pleasure in making edible pieces of art.  Some find ways to make it very profitable and for others that passion drives them to share their knowledge with students.

A student’s sugar sculpture

But for me, the real joy comes in that moment when you ring a friend’s doorbell and present them  with something that you’ve made just for them.  Whether it’s chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies, or cupcakes… for me, it’s always been a way to show them that I care.  It’s a pleasure to bake for family and friends.

So while I don’t have the same drive for perfection and passion that the French do for cuisine, I have certainly come to appreciate their dedication to the craft.  And I will continue to show that appreciation with every bite of every pastry that I taste from now until Christmas (when I bid adieu to Paris)…