This month London’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester announced the launch its first ever pastry masterclass. Led by the restaurant’s executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet and pastry chef Thibault Hauchard, the exclusive class will give an expert insight into the Art of Choux (a famously difficult culinary skill to master).
This hands-on masterclass will see the restaurant’s two accomplished chefs guide participants through the step-by-step process of creating the perfect savory and sweet French pastries, resulting in the creation of classic savory cheese gougères, sweet chouquettes sprinkled with a course sugar, and choux au craquelin, in which sweet choux pastry is filled with a chocolate cream and topped with a thin layer of crumble.
A morning of melting, whisking and piping under the chefs expert guidance—after which the piped mixture is whisked away to be baked in the oven, giving it enough time to cook during the class—is rewarded with a tasting of the fresh-from-the-oven pastries. The remaining pastries are boxed up to be taken away with you, along with a book of the masterclass’s recipes and tips on making choux perfectly every time.
Thibault Hauchard, who hails from Normandy, became the restaurant’s pastry chef in September 2017, having previously worked in the kitchens of Ritz Paris, Le Royal Monceau and Le Meurice. Classically trained in chocolate and confectionery, he now pours his creativity into the restaurant’s daily baked bread, ice creams, exquisite desserts and sweet treats including macarons, passion fruit caramels and the choux pastry bites you make in this class.
Having worked alongside Alain Ducasse for a number of years, the Nice-born chef Jean-Philippe Blondet is then adept at interpreting Ducasse’s cuisine in a fresh, contemporary way, staying in tune to the philosophy Ducasse has become known for by only using fresh, seasonal produce and placing importance on quality and provenance.
The chef’s reverence for fresh, seasonal produce continues into the design details of the restaurant’s interior décor, with playful white ceramic models of cabbages, lettuce and piles of asparagus placed on each table, balancing out the classic elegance of its white tablecloths and neutral color scheme. For the most comprehensive experience of the cuisine here, you should opt for one of the tasting menus, which bring together a series of dishes focusing on fine ingredients such as Dorset crab, lobster, confit duck foie gras , line-caught sea bass and saddle of lamb.
In the classic tasting menu, the Dorset crab is presented in a cylinder topped with caviar in a dish that complements this sweet meat with paper-thin celeriac, a crispy crab claw and rich, flavorful jus. The signature dish of saute gourmand lobster then pairs the succulent star ingredient with the silky meat of its claw, truffled chicken quenelles, mushrooms and rolls of delicate pasta. A decadent cream sauce is drizzled over the dish when it’s served to you at the table.
Other highlights are the Anjou pigeon, which comes with a decadent red wine sauce, chickpea puree and aromatic garlic, and violin courgette which is smoked in hay and presented to you in a smoke billowing glass courgette-shaped vessel that’s been specially made for the dish by a craftsman in France – this smoked courgette is paired with a creamy goat’s curd. Desserts are of course spectacular – go for something fresh like the raspberry and fennel vacherin or rum-soaked Monte-Carlo-style Baba, which happens to be the restaurant’s most popular sweet plate.
The service throughout is impeccable with wine pairings presented with fascinating insight into the story behind them and a trolley filled with flourishing rosemary, mint and marjoram pulled to your table for custom herbal infusions at the end of the meal.
For the full Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester experience, we recommend taking this rare opportunity to step into the kitchen, before tucking into a meal that exquisitely tops off the day of gastronomy.
To be a part of the restaurant’s first-ever Art of Choux masterclass, which is set to take place on October 29th, 2018, contact the reservations team on firstname.lastname@example.org. The three-hour masterclass is priced at £250 ($330) per person. You can reserve a table for the restaurant at alainducasse-dorchester.com