With the proliferation of celebrity chefs and colossally hyped restaurants, modern diners have a lot on their plates. Here, we talk to a top toque on the verge of second-chance stardom, learn what Parisians like to have for dessert, and generally find out what's on the menu in 2013.
Whether you call it clafoutis fatigue or tarte tatin tedium, Parisians are falling hard for American home-style desserts, thanks in large part to expat chefs who have become the toast of the French dining scene. For years, it was near impossible to snag a seat at Spring (six blocks from the Louvre), where Chicago-born chef Daniel Rose’s haute cuisine tastings end with a homey fig crumble and ice cream. Seattle transplants Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian whip up comfort-food faves like peanut butter mousse with homemade graham crackers and baked grapes (PB&J, n’est-ce pas?) at their popular wine bar Verjus. There’s even a nascent food-truck scene, where sweet-toothed Parisians thrill to New York cheesecake and cupcakes served from the side of a four-wheeler.
As France has long been the ne plus ultra of pastry craft, this American moment comes as, well, sweet irony. But some traditions die hard. “The reaction from Parisians has been great,” says Adrian. “They insist on eating their brownies and cookies with a spoon, though, which always makes us giggle.” —JOLYON HELTERMAN