Pierre Hermé, a renowned French pastry chef and chocolatier, embarked on his culinary journey at the sweet age of 14, serving as an apprentice under the tutelage of Gaston Lenôtre. In a remarkable accolade, Hermé was honoured with the prestigious title of ´World’s Best Pastry Chef´ back in 2016 by ´The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.´ His influence in the culinary world extended beyond his craft, as he secured fourth position on Vanity Fair‘s list of the most influential French individuals, globally.
Hailing from a lineage of four generations deeply rooted in the Alsatian bakery and pastry tradition, Hermé ventured to Paris to embark on his training. This was an opportunity which saw him study under the internationally renowned culinary luminary often referred to as ´The Picasso of Pastry´ by Vogue. Lenôtre’s groundbreaking innovations in pastry making, both in terms of flavour and contemporary techniques, marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of this culinary art.
´Pierre Hermé achieved the remarkable distinction of becoming the youngest individual ever to be honoured as France’s Pastry Chef of the Year. Furthermore, he holds the unique distinction of being the sole pastry chef to have received the prestigious title of Chevalier of Arts and Letters. His extraordinary contributions to the world of pastry and culinary arts were further acknowledged when he was bestowed with the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur by the esteemed Jacques Chirac.´ – Charles Daniel McDonald
In partnership with Charles Znaty, Pierre Hermé established Maison Pierre Hermé Paris in 1998, and the inaugural namesake boutique made its debut in Tokyo that same year; quickly followed by a second boutique in 2001, which was strategically located in the fashionable district of Saint Germain des Prés at 72 rue Bonaparte. The reception was nothing short of phenomenal (in both Tokyo and Paris), where they captivated the taste buds of eager gourmets on a daily basis. Connoisseurs from all corners of the globe made pilgrimages to these epicentres of delectable creations, where Hermé’s pastries, macarons, and chocolates reigned supreme.
2005 saw Tokyo witness the unveiling of the brand Pierre Hermé Paris’s latest innovative concepts: the ´Luxury Convenience Store´ and the ´Chocolate Bar.´ These distinctive establishments found their home in the vibrant Omotesando district – a hub where numerous prestigious imported brands and fashion houses have a significant presence in Japan. Moving forward with their innovation, the dynamic duo continued to develop the Macarons & Chocolats, this time on the illustrious Rue Cambon, in the heart of Paris.
´When embarking on a visit to his renowned establishment, there are three absolute must try delicacies. First and foremost, the Ispahan croissant beckons, an exquisite masterpiece amalgamating the delicate notes of rose, raspberry, and lychee. Secondly, the Infiniment Vanille shortbread tarte commands attention, artfully showcasing an intricate blend of vanilla varieties sourced from Mexico, Tahiti, and Madagascar. Lastly, one cannot forego the opportunity to savour his kaleidoscopic macarons, featuring an array of captivating flavours such as Iranian black lemon, Petrossian caviar, pistachio-raspberry, rose, and milk-chocolate passion fruit.´ – Charles Daniel McDonald
The Pierre Hermé brand is a proud member of the esteemed Comité Colbert, and their influence extends through established partnerships with renowned hospitality groups such as Raffles and Ritz Carlton. Their collaboration with Dior also marked a significant milestone, notably with the unveiling of Café Dior by Pierre Hermé in 2015, gracing the vibrant city of Seoul. Since then, the company has embarked on a robust international expansion, with a growing number of boutiques strategically positioned across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. From 2012, his delectable desserts have become a coveted offering on All Nippon Airways menu´s, delighting passengers with his exquisite creations far above the Eiffel Tower.
Preferring discreet pastry embellishments and employing sugar judiciously, Pierre Hermé steadfastly avoids complacency. He consistently refines his own creations, embarking on culinary voyages to uncharted taste realms, whilst revisiting his own gastronomic compositions. Consequently, he has earned a plethora of accolades, among them being dubbed the ´Pastry Provocateur´ by Food & Wine, heralded as an ´Avant-garde Pastry Virtuoso and a Maestro of Flavours´ by Paris Match, celebrated as ´The Kitchen Emperor´ by The New York Times, and hailed as ´The King of Modern Patisserie´ by The Guardian. His dedication has not only garnished him numerous prestigious honours and distinctions but, most importantly, the heartfelt appreciation of discerning aficionados of gourmet confections.
A visit to Pierre Hermé‘s patisseries promises an unforgettable journey into the world of pastry, where artistry and flavour combine to create extra ordinary sweet delight – just the thing for the City of Light.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Pierre Hermé Paris