Macarons created by French pastry chef Pierre Herme. (Photo provided to China Daily)
French pastry chef Pierre Herme, who has conceived more than 2,000 macaron recipes, will publish a book on plant-based desserts in October.
Dubbed the "Picasso of Pastry", Herme believes that as more people pay attention to health, avoiding excess fat will become even more important. Besides lowering carbohydrates and fat by 30 percent, he wants to preserve the delicious flavor of the desserts.
The book will have many illustrations and delicious vegetarian recipes, Herme says.
"Plant-based or vegetarian desserts are considered low-end products in most people's opinion, but that is not what I want. People will find that those low-calorie desserts in my store look and taste the same as other high-end desserts," Herme explains, adding that high-end plant-based desserts have not yet emerged in France, and there are a lot of possibilities for innovation in this direction.
As the descendant of four generations of bakers and pastry chefs from Alsace, France, Herme left the region at the age of 14 to become an apprentice to famous dessert chef Gaston Lenotre.
Later, in 1997, Herme founded the luxury "Haute Patisserie" company Pierre Herme Paris and opened its first store in Tokyo in 1998, followed in 2001 by the Parisian patisserie at 72 rue Bonaparte.
In 2016, Herme was voted best pastry chef in the world by the Academy of the World's 50 Best Restaurants.
Among the long list of desserts, macarons, a classic French pastry, with buttercream, ganache, or fruit curd sandwiched between two meringue-based cookies, have taken up most of his time.
French pastry chef Pierre Herme (Photo provided to China Daily)
At first, the pastry chef realized that the product was very sweet and wasn't rich or varied in taste. So he thought about how to improve the flavor. "From then on, I began to devote myself to developing the special features of new macaron products," Herme points out. "It can be said that in the world of macarons, no one has gone so far and so hard as me."
As a fanatic of macarons, Herme cooperated with the French Space Agency to send macarons into space a few years ago. These special macarons, which featured the initials of French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, were specially created for consumption in weightless conditions.
Early in June, Herme cooperated with ice cream brand Haagen-Dazs to launch a new macaron ice cream series called "French it up" in Shanghai. The series, which contains three flavors: strawberry, raspberry, and chocolate and lemon grapefruit, was previously only available in Britain and France starting in February.
"I am very excited and proud of our new collaboration. For the past 20 years, I have been continuously creating and reinterpreting my macaron creations, which is also my favorite and proudest field of creation. Macarons are my identity, so I seek to work with great brands," said the chef during his Shanghai tour.
In addition, he also regularly collaborates with furniture, decoration and jewelry brands to launch crossover products, for example, making beautiful "unique gift boxes", he says.
He adds that they also jointly launch products with fashion brands, such as some jewelry brands in India. "I hope to make a living art universe with the macaron at its core," he says.