- Cédric Grolet is a world-famous French pastry chef known for his realistic-looking desserts.
- He recently collaborated with Dominique Ansel in New York City.
- INSIDER’s Herrine Ro met up with the two to learn how to make Cédric’s lemon, strawberry, and hazelnut desserts.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Herrine: Oh, my God! This is why I’m not a pastry chef. Cédric Grolet is a world-renowned pastry chef. He is most famous for his realistic desserts that are sold at Le Meurice in Paris.
Cédric: My objective is to present a fruit and the idea is to make you think, “When I eat this fruit, it’s even better than nature,” and certainly to respect the original fruit. So if I mix in some fruit, there’s a better relationship between the way it looks and its flavour. But I season it every time so it’s different than what you’d find in nature.
Herrine: Cédric recently came to New York City to collaborate with another pastry chef legend, Dominique Ansel. For just three days, the two offered some of Chef Cédric Grolet’s iconic desserts.
Cédric: I’m most known for fruit. Fruits are in high demand in Paris, and even when I move around the world, it’s clear that fruits are in high demand.
Herrine: Fans were excited, to say the least. We got an inside look at how the desserts were made. Hi guys, so this morning we are meeting someone super special. Today we are meeting Cédric Grolet and he’s going to be teaching me how to make a few of his fruit desserts. I…don’t do pastry, and I’m not very technical and nimble with my hands, so I hope that I can just execute this half as well as Cédric. I’m probably gonna do bad this time.
Dominique: You are almost a pastry expert.
Herrine: That’s very generous of you.
Dominique: So let’s see how well you do today. So first step, remember, you’re gonna take the bottom of the skewer and push it right inside right here. Hold it. Hold it with your hand here.
Herrine: So much pressure!
Dominique: So put it down here for a second.
Dominique: No, no! On the paper. Right here.
Cédric: Yeah, otherwise it will melt.
Dominique: Then take your piping bag. Right, remember the piping bag?
Dominique: Hold it from this side in your hand.
Herrine: Like a little baby?
Dominique: And you’re gonna guide it.
Dominique: You’re gonna do stripes.
Herrine: This way?
Dominique: Up and down and left and right.
Herrine: OK, so crisscross.
Dominique: There you go. Don’t go too fast. Not too fast.
Dominique: OK. I think we’re good. So you’re gonna dip all the way to the base here, right? All the way to here. Dip and then back up.
Cédric: Slowly, slowly.
Dominique: Not too fast, not too fast. OK.
Cédric: Slowly, slowly. OK. Lift, lift.
Herrine: Did I do it?
Cédric: It’s perfect.
Dominique: Hold it. Hold it this way. Not too fast.
Herrine: This way?
Dominique: Not too fast. Yeah. Out of ten, what would you give her?
Dominique: Says two out of ten.
Herrine: A two out of ten!? Oh, my God. Joy.
Dominique: He says he should cut your nails next time.
Cédric: You have to cut your nails.
Herrine: I should cut it?
Dominique: Your nails.
Herrine: Oh, my nails.
Dominique: Your nails should be cut next time.
Herrine: [Gasp] No these are expensive!
Dominique: OK. That’s good enough.
Dominique: Good enough.
Herrine: That’s the motto for today: good enough.
Cédric: So here, she needs to dunk slowly and lift slowly. You can’t stress out.
Dominique: Take your time, not so fast.
Dominique: There you go, that’s good.
Herrine: and then…
Dominique: Let it drip a little bit.
Cédric: Don’t move. Perfect!
Herrine: I understood that, “It’s perfect.” Mine looks so bad compared to his.
Dominique: It looks the same. You can’t tell.
Herrine: You’re nicer today.
Dominique: I’m nicer today? Look over there.
Dominique: Which one’s yours?
Herrine: The lumpy one. That one.
Dominique: Don’t put so much pressure, just lift is up slowly. Very gently, delicately, and place it in the container. All right, do it.
Herrine: Oh, my God. If anyone thinks, as they’re watching this, that they can do a better job than me, you are wrong! Are these preserved from the actual lemon?
Herrine: My hands are shaking.
Dominique: Don’t move. It’s a little off-center, but it’s good enough.
Herrine: Give me a break! Just give me a break! Yeah, you’re right.
Dominique: Which one is yours now?
Herrine: I think mine was so bad he actually threw it away.
Dominique: Chef where did you put her lemon?
Herrine: It’s not here anymore.
Cédric: The trash.
Dominique: He trashed it.
Herrine: It’s gone. Yeah, he was like, “Bye,” and then he chucked it. For the other desserts, the processes are similar. The frozen cakes are dipped into chocolate, all decorated with edible ingredients.
Cédric: The reaction I often get when a client who doesn’t know what I do, and they see “lemon” on the menu, and when we bring them the lemon on the plate, they think it’s a real lemon with the leaf, and they’re surprised. They have the impression that the pastry chef didn’t really do anything and just placed a lemon on the plate. But once they crack it and taste it, they understand all the complexities in the dessert. I like that the client is surprised by the look of the dessert. And once they cut it, they’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know it was going to be like this,” and it’s often like that.
Dominique: The effect of surprise.
Cédric: Yeah. I try to do a bit like Kinder Eggs style that kids have. Physically, the Kinder Eggs are pleasing to kids, and they love them, and when they break it, they get a surprise. It’s a bit like that.
Herrine: Finally, it was time to try out Cédric’s desserts.
Cédric: You want to cut the hazelnut?
Dominique: Do you want to cut it?
Herrine: Absolutely not.
Dominique: No? Why not?
Herrine: ‘Cause I messed up so much upstairs.
Dominique: It’s just…You just have to cut it in half.
Herrine: Wow! Oh!
Herrine: Well, that was unexpected, but very delicious, to say the least. What’s actually inside?
Dominique: It’s hazelnut paste. The ganache on the outside is nice and creamy, and you go towards the center, there’s this hazelnut paste and this soft, liquid caramel that just oozes out. So the balance of texture here is like, just unbelievable, and the flavour of the hazelnut’s just perfect. It’s not too sweet. It’s not too rich. It’s just like, just perfect balance. Chef’s saying the best way is to grab it and eat it.
Herrine: It’s not gonna be too messy?
Dominique: I’m gonna do it.
Cédric: It’s perfect.
Dominique: Right here we have the strawberry. Like beautiful ganache on the outside. In the center, there’s confit strawberry, some fresh strawberries, some strawberry juice. It really tastes like a fresh, ripe, juicy strawberry.
Herrine: It really does.
Dominique: And it’s finished with a tiny bit of clove powder on top.
Herrine:If every fruit tasted like this, America would be healthy.
Herrine: So what is inside of this?
Dominique: So inside the lemon, there’s confit lemon, some little pearls of lemon, some fresh lemon pieces, and mint as well.
Herrine: So what is the purpose of kind of like, eating it that way as opposed to like, a spoon? Just more fun to eat? I can do this, yeah.
Dominique: She’s asking why you like eating it with your hands.
Cédric: You eat fruit with your hands, it’s really the country style and simplistic style. I like simplicity.
Herrine: How do you say “perfect” in French?
Dominique: How do you say “perfect,” “parfait,” in French?
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.