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Pierre Hermé (born November 20, 1961, Colmar Haut-Rhin) is a French pastry chef most famous for his macarons, many of which have unusual flavor combinations. French Vogue magazine dubbed him "The Picasso of Pastry."
Pierre Hermé macarons are airy cookies of egg-white and almond chair, sandwiching a cream filling. Perhaps his most famous is the Ispahan, made with rose, lychee, and raspberry; he likened it as their "Chanel suit" -- the one they sell the most.
Hermé's chocolates are also renowned. His chocolate cake made it on The Observer's "50 best things to eat in the world" list in 2009.
His cooking philosophy: He prefers discreet pastry decors and "uses sugar like salt, in other words, as a seasoning to heighten other shades of flavor." He often makes daring use of savory ingredients in his desserts: traces of balsamic vinegar, Parmesan or olives in his cakes and layered dessert creams; he has even used grilled corn in a cake. Like some fashion designers, he creates themed seasonal collections. For example, his 1999 Autumn/Winter Collection was entitled “Café, Chocolate, Caramel”; in 2002, “Blanc Cousu Main”; in 2003, "Kawaï".
Heir to four generations of Alsatian bakery and pastry-making tradition, Pierre Hermé began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice in Paris with the acclaimed pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre, who Hermé says is his greatest influence. At age 24, he became the pastry chef at the fine food merchant Fauchon, where he remained for 11 years. In 1997, he was involved with the expansion of Ladurée into a chain of luxury pastry shops. Ladurée is also renowned for their macarons.
In 1998, he started his own brand name Pierre Hermé Paris with a pastry boutique in Tokyo's New Otani Hotel, followed in July 2000 by a Salon de Thé in the Tokyo Disney shopping area Ikspiari. According to Hermé, while with Ladurée his contract prohibited him from opening a place in Paris. His first Paris boutique opened in 2002, at 72 rue Bonaparte in the Saint Germain des Prés, then in 2004 a second one at 185 rue de Vaugirard. In 2005, a flagship store opened in Tokyo's trendy Omotesando district, with a downstairs boutique for Pierre Hermé products as well as an elegant upstairs 20-seat cafe, "Chocolate Bar". There are now seven stores in Tokyo, six in Paris, one in London, and an online shop.
He lives in Paris's 17th arrondissement, where his office and creative workshop are close by, just next to Monceau Park. When not in his own shops, he likes to travel around Paris visiting suppliers of his favorite Parisian foodstuffs, and finding new shops that sell products with flavors new to him.
Pierre Hermé was the youngest person ever to be named France's Pastry Chef of the Year, and is also the only pastry chef to have been decorated as a Chevalier of Arts and Letters. He was awarded "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur" by Jacques Chirac on May 3, 2007, just before Nicolas Sarkozy's election.
He has written two English-language dessert cookbooks, together with food writer Dorie Greenspan: Desserts by Pierre Hermé and Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé.
- Secrets Gourmands - Larousse, 1993
- La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé - Montagud Editores, Spain, 1994
- Co-author, Larousse Gastronomique, 1996
- Le Larousse des Desserts - Larousse, 1997
- Plaisirs Sucrés - Hachette, 1997
- Desserts by Pierre Hermé - Little & Brown, United States, 1998
- Secrets Gourmands - Shibata Shoten, Japan, 1999
- Desserts à la carte - Hachette, 2000
- Secrets Gourmands - Noésis, 2000
- La Pasticceria di Pierre Hermé - Edizioni Finedit, Italy, 2001
- Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé - Little & Brown, United States, 2001
- Le Larousse des Desserts - Larousse, 2002
- Plaisirs Sucrés (new edition) - Hachette, 2002
- Mes Desserts au Chocolat - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2002
- Mes Desserts Préférés - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2003
- Die Pâtisserie von Pierre Hermé - Mathaes, Germany, 2004
- Le Larousse du Chocolat - Larousse, 2005
- The Cook’s Book - Dorling Kindersley, United Kingdom, 2005
- ph10 - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2005
- Gourmandises - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2006
- Comme un chef - Larousse, 2006
- Le Larousse des desserts - Larousse, 2006
- Confidences Sucrées - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2007
- Macaron - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2008
- Le rnasterbait au chocolait - le phuck 2009
- Carrément Chocolat - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2009
- Amanda Mosle Friedman (April 7, 2003). "Pierre Herme: turning pastries into works of art". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- Killian Fox (13 September 2009). "The 50 best things to eat in the world, and where to eat them". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- "Boutiques - Pierre Hermé Paris". official Pierre Hermé Paris website. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- "Milestones - Pierre Hermé Paris". official Pierre Hermé Paris website. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- Nico (2007-12-28). "Pierre Herme Paris: Aoyama". SunnyPages.jp. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- Sophie Delon (ed.) (December 2010). "Paris as Seen by Pierre Hermé". ParisienSalon.com. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- Jane Dystel (1998). "Review of Desserts by Pierre Herme". Publisher's Weekly (quoted on amazon.com). Retrieved 2011-04-07.
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