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cabrales

Pierre Herme

163 posts in this topic

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:

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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.

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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.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?ac...hl=pierre+herme


Edited by cabrales (log)

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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

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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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.com/newsletter1464/newsl...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:

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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 (log)

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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.

You mean when they found out they couldn't understand how the rest of the world worked they fell back on what made them French to begin with? I'm shocked. That's the same reason the Italians can't shed the pasta course from their meal. How did they ever manage to make the recording St. Germain in that country?

Cabby - Your theory is a good one. Korovo was a gimmicky restaurant that seemed like a fish out of water. Especially on that conservative street. It would have fared better as a restaurant in one of those trendy hotels the Costes Brothers own. But back to Nobu, I'm not sure the French have accepted the raw fish concept completely and that's possibly one of the reasons why Nobu failed. Also, the tradition of eating raw shellfish in that country is so strong, I don't see how fin fish can compete.


Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)

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When I was in Avignon last summer, I was told there wasn't a single sushi restaurant in town. That says a lot.

One would think, though, that there were enough enough fashionistas in Paris to keep Nobu afloat.

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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.com/newsletter1464/newsl...m?doc_id=121036

Below is additional information on the current collection of Herme offerings:

-- Satine -- Pate sabelee, cheesecake aux fruits de la passion, marmelade d'orange creme au creme cheese. Candied orange peels are utilized in the middle of this item. The cheesecake is very light, and the orange cream on top is artistically presented in swirls and with "browned" edges in areas.

-- Ivoire -- Pate feuillete, feuille de chcolat riz au lait, creme de mascarpone a la gelee de balsamique. Three thin white chocolate disks with white material inside them. On top are little shards of silver leaf. Between the crunchy millefeuille bottom and the previously-described white colored top is a cooked down fruit mixture reminiscent of the effects of christmas cake -- with ginger notes and possibly figs, plums and apples.

-- Emotions Acidulee -- Riz au lait au mascarpone, pommes poeles au pain d'epices, gelee de citron vert a la menthe. An apple cross-section on top is not entirely dried. Then 7-8 tiny cubes of Christmas-cake-like material that represents the pain d'epices. The gelee is very bitter, in an appropriate way. Then a small layer of cake (sponge-like), with chunks of green apple. Then, the dense rice-containing item. Like previous Emotions offering, this one is time-limited (the prior versions were indicaetd to be no longer available) and served in a round, fat glass.

-- The white truffle/hazelnut macaron was nice, although the white truffle connotations seemed limited to the creamed portion to some extent.

-- I noted there are several varieties of Herme ice cream, including Ispahan flavor (see earlier posts).


Edited by cabrales (log)

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When I was in Avignon last summer, I was told there wasn't a single sushi restaurant in town. That says a lot.

One would think, though, that there were enough enough fashionistas in Paris to keep Nobu afloat.

I haven't been in Avignon in a few years, but in my travels in France this year, one of the things I noticed was Japanese restaurants--outside of Paris. Traditionally the French have not had a lot of foreign restauants particularly outside of Paris. Yes, there is often a Moroccan restaurant and maybe an Indochinese restaurant, but there's a long standing relationship with north African and Indochina.

Fashion in Paris fleeting. It comes and goes quickly.

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.
I suspect this may on the nose. We're also seeing some of the same return to comfort food here for much the same reasons I suppose.

The Japanese restaurant in the provinces were the real anomaly. I wonder if they're just provincially late or has small town France taken to the food.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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My own theory is more mundane and is rooted in the belief that only Michelin stars justify big bucks. This feeling has been intensified by a very pronounced return to traditional cooking here.

Against that background, I actually liked Korova. I thought it was great place to go to around 11 PM after the movies or whatever. The chicken coke was a bit much but not all that surprizing. It sort of tasted like a balsamic sauce. It was OK - just a little heavy late at night.

At any rate, the current mood here is that the Coste are bad guys, Spoon is suspect, and the rage is traditional "lite" (for example Ducasse's Aux Lyonnais) or "upgraded regional" (eg. Helene Darroze).

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The Coste Brothers are bad guys how? Are you speaking about food or them? I always enjoyed their places (lousy food though) but found them to be charming guys and nice hosts that made everyone feel comfortable. Of course that might have changed over the last few years as their business has become rather large.

How about the yiddische mama pastrami at Korovo? Who is Jewish, Herme or his wife?

The thing about Korovo is that it was French tacky. Only the French would think that sixties moderne style using plastics would be something that people would find chic. The place was like an airport lounge from a science fiction movie. And as "cute" as they thought things like the coke chicken and pastrami were, the hipness factor in those dishes is zero. It would be like going to a trendy place in Rome and they were serving "Pasta ala Heinz Ketchup." Good or not good, to anyone reading the menu on its face, it's just one more example of the French not getting it.


Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)

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M. et Mme. Herme are enthusiastic fans of America, or at least of New York, or should I say of what they perceive to be New York. Or maybe I should say they were portrayed that way some time ago in a magazine article. Of course New York through their eyes, may not be the one you or I see. Their pastrami may not be your pastrami, or their corned beef may just be your beef.

he Coste Brothers are bad guys how?
Reading Tarkington's post, what I got was that they are no longer fashionable, not that they are mean or offer up room and board that is actually bad as opposed to no longer chic. These are Warholian times and the Costes Brothers exist in a world where good and bad are a question of whimsy more than quality.

Traditional "lite" seems to mirror the mood in NYC. Haven't we had that thread in the NYC board. Where is the great and adventuresome cooking of yesterday? Of course the great restaurants are still here--both in Paris and NY, but reservations are easier to get. In Paris they are more dependent on tourism and that's down as well.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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First off, the point about the Costes had nothing to do with them as people; its just that there are now an awful lot of their restaurants and not one of them is any more exciting than a cold grilled American cheese sandwich. Their “badness” is the same as Jean-Paul Bucher’s (another very nice guy), whose Flo Group sucked the life out of most of the very best brasseries in Paris.

To continue the Korova dirge, the guys behind it were Herbert Boukobza, a professional restaurateur, who cooked up the concept, and Jean-Luc Delarue, a TV talk show host, who put up the bucks. Boukobza’s idea was to have a more or less plain vanilla menu kicked up with one or two wacky dishes (the phrase French style white trash cooking was used) more to get a laugh than to be really eaten.

Anyway, what happened was that “fooding” had come and gone (the original Bon, Man Ray, Budda Bar, and all those awful places) and seemed to have been reincarnated in a new, exciting concept that was going to make a meaningful contribution. After all, Ducasse was making a big splash with his Spoons, promoting a messages that three-star cooking was a drone and that for food to be really, really good it had to be “ludic” (game/play-like) on top of its gourmet qualities. The critics decided this was definitely going to be the new thing – gastronomy you could chuckle over.

It was all too easy to see points of comparison between Korova and Spoon. (Korova’s ketchup ice cream did look a awful lot like Spoon’s Malabar ice cream.) In actual fact Boukobza had no interest in doing a cheap version of Spoon, he just wanted a starlet-filled late-night place and was doing what came natural to him.

I did a piece in March for a big American glossy on this exciting, new fun food trend and naturally interviewed Patrice Hardy, Korova’s chef. It was weird. Here I was trying to figure out how this totally French chef knew anything about white trash cooking while Hardy, a very competent, unsmiling, hard working guy, was trying to tell me how well crafted his food really was. The story was pretty clear, Hardy was doing your basic Paris bistro menu with dogged devotion while Boukobza would run into the kitchen every now and than yelling things like, “Hey kids, today we’re going to do camembert ice cream!”

By the time Herme’s stand opened up, it was already all over – the place was officially on the skids. Being seen there was the kiss of death. The fun food concept had died too. Ducasse was concentrating on the Epicerie and Au Lyonnais and saying that, yes, there would be other Spoons but completely, completely different from the old ones.

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Paris has always had it's restaurants that prey on tourists as well as places where the wealthy eat, to eat with others of their economic persuasion, and places where the chic and stylish gather more to play than dine, but the Budda Bar and others seem historically un-Parisian and a fairly recent import in terms of dining. Am I wrong? Was there a precedent for what you describe as--and I have no trouble with that description--"awful places?"


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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