Voted Best Restaurant Pastry Chef in 2019 by Grandes Tables du Monde, an organization grouping the world’s best restaurants, Perret has been head pastry chef at the Ritz since 2015. He’s made a name for himself with his clever trompe-l’oeil desserts based on classics like marble cake and madeleines, detailed in his cookbook “French Pastry at the Ritz Paris.”
His new venture marks a change of approach: everything has been designed to be eaten on the go, from the flaky mille-feuille, which comes in a practical finger shape, to his latest innovation: milk-based drinks blended with ground biscuit or cake. The so-called “boissons pâtissières” come in three flavors, include a vegan option using oat milk.
To coincide with the release of “The Chef in a Truck” on Netflix last June, he opened a pop-up at the entrance of the Ritz with offerings including his French take on American specialties like cheesecake and s’mores — think chocolate ice cream wrapped in a layer of crunchy chocolate and marshmallow, then caramelized with a blowtorch.
The recipes grew out of his experience meeting local producers and restaurateurs in Los Angeles as he prepared to set up a pop-up food truck. A related book, “The Chef in a Truck: Travels From the Ritz to the Open Road with an Award-Winning Pastry Chef,” is scheduled for publication this fall.
Perret has also been developing the menu for Le Comptoir, which is designed to make the Ritz more accessible to locals at a time when tourists remain scarce in the French capital. While afternoon tea at the Salon Proust would ordinarily set you back at least 68 euros, a croissant here will cost just 3 euros
“Some people are uncomfortable with social media and TV, but I think it’s hyper important because I want people to eat my products. For people to know they exist, you have to communicate,” he reasoned. “The documentary has definitely had an impact. It’s boosted me and motivated me to go even further.”
Everything about Le Comptoir has been designed to be welcoming, including the fact that the entrance is on Rue Cambon, rather than the more imposing Place Vendôme. “We’re very much aware that the Ritz can be a little intimidating for some people,” Perret said.
Likewise, his creations are designed to appeal to the greatest number. While Hermé has called Perret’s more upscale take on the madeleine, served in the restaurants and tea room at the Ritz, a “masterpiece,” the chef usually likes to focus on no more than two or three star ingredients in each recipe.
“A cake has to be understandable,” he said. “When you eat a cake, you don’t think. Your palate does the thinking. It has to pop in the mouth. To achieve that, you have to keep it simple. Some people don’t know when to stop — they make cakes with seven different flavors in them. I can’t stand that.”
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