Fresh Picks by François Payard

One of the world’s most renowned pastry chefs tells us what he's loving right now.

03.03.11 12:14 PM ET

François Payard

François Payard is a third-generation French pastry chef. Born in Nice, Payard grew up surrounded by the delicious classic French pastry in the tradition carried on by his parents and grandparents for over 50 years. Payard eventually moved to Paris where he learned the artistry and refinement of transforming traditional desserts into exquisite plated presentations in several of France’s finest three-Michelin-starred kitchens, such as La Tour d’Argent and Lucas Carton. Payard's desire to travel and discover a new culture brought him to New York, where he joined the team at Le Bernardin. In 1995, The James Beard Foundation named Payard “Pastry Chef of the Year” and in 2004, Payard was honored with the prestigious Ordre du Mérite Agricole Medal of Honor by the French government. He has authored the cookbooks Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts, and Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone, and currently has pastry shops located in Las Vegas, Japan, Korea, and New York. Chef Payard will be participating in Savor, GMHC’s annual gastronomic fundraiser on Monday, March 7, in New York City. Proceeds from the evening will benefit GMHC’s care services including nutrition guidance, food pantry access, and a meals program that serves to enhance medication absorption and the overall health of over 10,000 clients annually. To learn more about GMHC or buy tickets to Savor please visit their website


With spring around the corner, soup season is drawing to a close, so don’t let this robust recipe pass you by while the weather is just right.

I am loving lentil soup right now. We have a rotating list of soups that we serve at François Payard Bakery, but my current favorite is the lentil. In this recipe from the culinary godfather James Beard, the legumes take on an even more exciting flavor with the addition of fresh chard and lemon. Throw some French bread in the oven to serve with your soup and dinner is served!


When you want a steak and want it done right, hail a cab and head to this Upper East Side sirloin staple.

T-Bar—it's a great steak restaurant. Located in NYC, this restaurant manned by Chef Ben Zwicker was formerly the Lenox Room. If you are on the hunt to cure your quest for that perfect prime rib, head to this Upper East Side establishment and make yourself at home. You won’t leave disappointed, or hungry. 

Andrew Harrer


If your cookbook collection can’t grow any more try taking a trip to your nearest newsstand for inspiration.

There are many cookbooks that I like. But, I also like to read magazines, too. Most of the time, I find inspiration by buying magazines for the home cook and adapting them to fit my own style. I like American, French, Italian, and recently, I started subscriptions to a few Australian magazines as well.

Food Destination

Looking for a new twist on pies and pastries? Try incorporating some exotic elements from our friends on the opposite side of the world in Asia.

I like visiting Japan and Korea for inspiration. I have shops in both of those countries, so I have a good excuse to visit. Flavor and texture are very important to me. I try to incorporate new ingredients from my travels into new collections of new cakes.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.