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Pierre Herme


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#61 Lesley C

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Posted 20 October 2002 - 05:39 PM

I just heard from a friend in Paris who read that Pierre Hermé is having some sort of financial difficulties. Apparently there were a few discreet lines in Le Figaro last week about trouble with his partner. Has anyone else heard this news? I'm sure he'd have no problem finding another backer if these reports are correct? :sad:

#62 ajay

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Posted 20 October 2002 - 06:07 PM

I have not yet had the opportunity to sample Herme's creations [I'm particularly interested in his utilization of rose flavoring]--either in Paris or in Wegmans (Paris would be preferrable, of course, of course).

Everytime I hear of financial problems, I think that a chef will pull a Kunz and basically leave the active culinary scene for a while. I hope that will not be true of Herme, if his problems turn out to be serious.

#63 cabrales

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Posted 21 October 2002 - 09:03 AM

I heard very vaguely that something might have happened to Kurova.

#64 robert brown

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Posted 22 October 2002 - 11:25 AM

Who's Kurova?

#65 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 22 October 2002 - 11:28 AM

Korova (or is it Korovo) is the restaurant Herme's wife runs on rue Marbeuf. There is a small Pierre Herme shop at the front of the store. It's a weird, if not fun place to have lunch.

#66 cabrales

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 06:55 PM

Below is an article by Alison James in the October 21-27 edition of Variety ("Star eateries starving as Parisians bite bullet"):

"[T]he two celeb-centric eateries [Kurova and Paris branch of Nobu] are in deep trouble. Both filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection recently --- amid accusations of mismanagement --- along with the trendiest patisserie in Paris: Pierre Herme. All three establishments have a shareholder in common, ubiquitous TV presenter/ producer Jean-Luc Delarue, whose success in the TV biz has apparently proved more difficult to replicate in the risky business of upmarket restauranting. . . . A telephone call to the Korova went unanswered, but Nobu was still open for business last week. . . ." :blink:

#67 robert brown

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 09:55 PM

Cabrales, would you care to give us more from the article or provide a link if it is on-line? Thanks.

#68 cabrales

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 10:01 PM

robert -- There wasn't anything else that was important, and I do not believe it is available over the net. The article is a bit unclear with respect to basic info, I agree.

#69 cabrales

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 12:05 PM

Bonjour Paris reports the following: "Korova's closed, Nobu's no more. There's a sniff of bankruptcy in the herb-filled air of many Paris watering holes. Some blame the 35-hours, some the fact that young Turks no longer want to work like young Turks." Do members know if Nobu, Paris has closed for good? :hmmm:

http://www.bparis.co...m?doc_id=128270

#70 thefoodhunter

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 03:54 PM

I had a fabulous dinner at Nobu on October 14. It was my first ever Nobu experience, I've never been to the NY or other outposts. I went with a Japanese friend and we ordered the 150 euro tasting menu. I wasn't taking notes, but I remember endless excellent dishes, impeccable service and a totally packed house, upstairs and downstairs on a Monday night. My Japanese friend lives in Paris and thanked me for introducing him to the first Japanese style restaurant he had ever eaten in that reminded him of Japan, at least as far as the food is concerned. Last saturday I bought a huge box of macaroons from Pierre Hermé rue Bonaparte, must have been a few hours after Steve Ps aborted attempt. If you want to skip the lines there is a secret, order by phone and pay in advance. You can walk by all the tourists and snooty French folk give your name pick up your goods and split.

#71 cabrales

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 04:15 PM

Marc -- Have you been to one of the Japanese restaurants on r. Mont-Thabor, behind the Meurice and buildings adjacent to it (sort of)? One of them is supposed to be fairly good (one of them that is closer to the Thuileries, on that side of the road, than on the other). :blink:

#72 Rhea_S

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 09:27 PM

Excerpt from the newly-published Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan:

"Korova was the name of the milk bar in Stanley Kubrick's classic film, A Clockwork Orange. It was also the name of a restaurant off the Champs-Elysees for which Pierre Herme created these cookies. The restaurant is gone, but the cookies are still a specialty at Pierre's patisserie"

Seems that Ms. Greenspan knew well ahead that Korova would be closing.

#73 paw

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 08:40 AM

A friend who just got back from Paris says Hermé has a new pastry shop on the rue Bonaparte. She reports that the macarons and the kougelhopf are the best she's ever had, and she knows her stuff.

Is the rue Bonaparte address the one that was rumored to be in peril?

#74 cabrales

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 08:42 AM

paw -- No. Rue Bonaparte is on the Left Bank. The Kurova venue is on the Right Bank, in the 8th arrondisement. Bonparte is the best location for the range of Herme chocolates, in my experience.

#75 Bux

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 02:32 PM

But if Herme is in trouble himself, his two shops--both on the left bank--will be in trouble. Korova was his wife's restaurant, although they sold his desserts and pastries.
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#76 Lesley C

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 09:15 PM

From what I heard, that was one of the problems. Apparently they supplied the restaurant -- and all the parties at the restaurant -- as part of the partnership deal for no extra charge. I'll try to find out more from my secret sources when I'm there next week. :cool:

#77 VivreManger

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 08:08 AM

For what it is worth, Pierre Hermé is alive and well as of 20 minutes ago. I called them to get a price list so that I could order in advance as Marc Cosnard des Closets had suggested a few weeks ago. On the other hand this was my second attempt. When I first called 10 days ago I asked them to mail it to the States. It has yet to arrive. This time I asked them to FAX it. As for their specialities, I am not devoted to either shredded coconut or marzipan, but exotic fruit is a favorite. I do not plan to grand bouffe on macaroons. The fruit and chocolate pastries sound appealing. Any more info would be welcome since I will probably order sight on seen when I get to Paris in a few weeks.

#78 cabrales

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 08:29 AM

Vivremanger -- See the below thread on Pierre Herme. The Ispahan and the caramel/salt macaron (this is a single macaron) are nice. Note that, at least at the Bonaparte venue, certain creations (not the majority) are available in mini versions that could allow you to sample more varieties. At Bonaparte, consider including certain chocolates. :smile:

http://forums.egulle...hl=pierre herme

Edited by cabrales, 21 November 2002 - 08:29 AM.


#79 Bux

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 01:29 PM

It's worthwhile to note for the benefit of those members less familiar with French pastry that macarons (with one "o") have little in common with macaroons. They are both baked and therefore come from bakeries.
Robert Buxbaum
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#80 cabrales

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Posted 22 November 2002 - 09:51 AM

Bonjour Paris offered a rather promising description of Pierre Herme's latest collection, entitled "White and Hand-Tailored". It is indicated that rice and mascarpone are ingredients that are emphasized in this context.

http://www.bparis.co...m?doc_id=121036

The "Carre Blanc" sounds interesting (and has a name that brings to mind one of the non-white varieties of chocolate and its utilization by Herme). Most interesting-sounding, however, to me is the Piemonte hazelnuts and white truffle cream macaron. :wink:

#81 Tarkington

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 07:01 AM

Unfortunately, it's a bit worse than that. Herme got drafted into Korva when it started flagging over the summer. The same backers - mostly TV people over here - were into both Korova and Nobu. Both restaurants were bankrupted at the end of August with a startling amount of debt. Unfortunately, Herme went with them. There is an open question as to the exent of the guarantees he put up to get in the venture. My sense is that it is still in litigation, but that Herme will get dragged through the bankrupcy court.

#82 Lesley C

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 04:07 AM

From what I hear, they're in for about 2 million euros and have until February to turn things around.
Considering the price he's selling all those lovely pastries and the lineups at the door, you'd think he could pull it off.

#83 Louisa Chu

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 04:56 AM

Here's a link to a current Pierre Herme article from Bonjour Paris written by a friend of mine.
"Signature Pastries to Go?"

Klancy did pastry at Cordon Bleu and a stage at Taillevant.

Plus we may just have some insider info at Pierre Herme...

#84 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 05:23 AM

I don't understand. Did Herme personally guarantee the debt? Is he going to lose control of his name? He should be able to buy his rue Bonaparte shop from the banks. What are they going to do if they close it, repossess the macarons? They will get zippo.

#85 Tarkington

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 11:20 AM

Basically what happened was something like this. The main investor in the the Korova/Nobu disaster was a French TV personality of the name of Delarue. He was the original main backer of Korova and then the leader of the Nobu group - essentially the same gang of TV personalities. When Korova (the Chicken Coke place) started to sink, they added an Herme stand in the restaurant and got some press out of it. No one really knows how much of the balance sheet Herme picked up. In August, Korova was placed under the control of the bankrupcy court and then, two weeks later, Nobu. The press reported that Delarue's exposure was four million euros (how he got in that deep, no one knows). The debt of the other shareholders was not reported. The hot question is how deeply Herme is involved.

French bankrupcy proceedings are very complex and take years. The current consensus is that (a)Delarue will take the financial hit (b) Herme will excape unscathed, and © the kicky food trend in Paris (despite the dixit of Food Arts and the New York Times) was a wet firecracker, as the French say.

#86 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 11:42 AM

Well although Korovo is a modern installation, it isn't 4 million euros worth. So the money must have gone into Nobu. So okay, that raises the big question, Nobu is a dining format that is successful everywhere. Why didn't it work in Paris?

#87 pirate

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 12:09 PM

The question should be why is Nobu sucessful in New York and London.
Long before Nobu, I liked Matsuhisa in LA. I no longer patronize it as there are better Japanese restaurants in LA. I've not been to any of the Nobus because they are too hyped. The black cod was a fine dish at Matsuhisa but I've eaten better black cod dishes in Vancouver ( at C and at Blue Water Grill, for example). I admired Morimoto on the "Iron Chef" (he was chef at Nobu NY at the time) but was disappointed by a meal at his restaurant in Philadephia last July.

#88 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 12:14 PM

Well no that shouldn't be the question. The issue isn't why is Nobu successful? I don't really care why and for that matter, it's unbelieveably successful. What I want to know is why the French rejected it when others love it? Is it becayse they are French or is it the owners mismanaging the place?

#89 Tarkington

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 12:15 PM

There is an old saw that cooking in France swings between "terroir" and "epice" and after a five year infatution with "world food" (Spoon, Korova, et al) the French have returned to terroir with a vengance. y, None of the hot new "foreign" spots in Paris is thriving. Korova and Nobu are closed, Market is in serious trouble, and Ducasse seems to have moved away from the Spoon concept. His latest is Aux Lyonnais, a sort of Ducasse spin on traditional Lyon cooking.

These restaurants got hit with a double whammy. For one, the French will pay 200 Euros a pop for Michelin stars but not for the sight of a starlet's legs. For another, they are in the grips of a comfort food revival that has put the biggest premium on pot of few since the Mere Brezier.

#90 cabrales

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Posted 03 December 2002 - 12:33 PM

What I want to know is why the French rejected it [Nobu] when others love it? Is it becayse they are French or is it the owners mismanaging the place?

I don't purport to know why Nobu was not actually successful in Paris. However, my own hypothesis is that (1) the average French person is better able to differentiate between good and bad cuisine more the average preson in the US (and the average Paris inhabitant is better able to differentiate between good and bad cuisine than the average person in NYC), and (2) there is a large number of restaurants in Paris that have better cuisine than Nobu, whereas in NYC there are fewer such restaurants. (2) is a corollary of my subjective belief that US restaurants are not as good as restaurants in France. :wink:

Under this theory, Nobu is more successful in London because, despite certain very good restaurants in London, such restaurants are fewer in number (absolute and relative) than very good restaurants in Paris.

This theory is also consistent with why Cello, a restaurant I liked considerably, might have had to close.

I ate at Market and I believe it would not be inappropriate for it to get into trouble. Market is particularly vulnerable because of its expensive rental location. I do not intend to be mean, but restaurants that don't cut it should be closed. Kurova is a good example -- Coca Cola chicken? I have never eaten anything other than Herme pastries there, but I don't feel sad at all about the closing of Kurova, except to the extent it affects Herme's activities.

Edited by cabrales, 03 December 2002 - 12:34 PM.