Mon chéri has said often enough that he’s happy to invest in my future. I have replied equally just as often that I’m worth the investment. A part of his investment goes towards research. I have convinced my investor that tracking down the Haute Couture of pâtisserie in Paris is part of research and the development of my future as a French pâtissier. So, a few weeks back we found ourselves in the tea room of Hôtel Plaza Athénée researching. Why? Because Hôtel Plaza Athénée is famous for its dessert menu. And not only this, the creator of these desserts is non other than the pin-up boy of pâtisserie, Christophe Michalak.
I have to say, it was a little embarrassing – having 4 desserts, a tea pot plus the cups, mineral water plus the glasses, Champagne plus the flutes and flowers and vase, all on the one teeny-tiny table. The wait stuff for some reason assumed we would like more and kept wheeling the trolley over asking us if we were ready for another. All in the name of research bring us more desserts and another one of your teeny-tiny tables, s’il vous plait!
In terms of pricing of individual desserts, you are definitely paying for a package deal of dining in a 5 star hotel. The experience is certainly a luxurious one, and you don’t even have to commit to a big fancy dinner. Even if it’s just to sit in the lobby for 5 minutes and ooze up the sensuality of the hotels surroundings (or use the fancy loos). Even better if you can enjoy just a simple thing like tea and cake. We paid for 4 dessert pastries but that’s simply because in class (the lab) we have been making these very desserts, and we, the students, are also in the phase of deciding where we want to do our stage, that is our internship. Plaza Athénée among the other Hotel Palaces (Bristol, Meurice, ..) are on the list of places. The students need to have a clear idea in which direction they want to head in terms of their career &/or learning: boutique patisserie, restaurant or hotel. In a hotel for example you are going to be making classic desserts for the tea room with a fancy touch such as the ones above, and for the hotel’s restaurant you will be doing plated desserts.
As service is greatly lacking in France in the general hospitality area, it was a real pleasure to be treated like a princess just for one afternoon at Plaza Athénée. She represents everything that I imagine Paris to be: timeless elegance.
HOTEL PLAZA ATHENEE
Chefs Patissiers: Christophe Michalak et Jean-Marie Hiblot
25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
Tel: +33 1 5367 6665
All photos on this page are the rights of the photographer, Matthieu Pannier.