Blogger and Pastry Chef David Lebovitz has been living the sweet life in Paris, but this week he’s in town to promote his books and do a little work for Spice Islands. He’s also trying to fit as much Mexican food and as many hamburgers as possible into the schedule. Kuma’s nearly did him in, but it’s hard to jump into that combination of whiskey, macaroni and cheese, portion size and heavy metal without serious training. (He liked it, though!)
He took some time out of his schedule to have breakfast with a group of food bloggers. We were lucky twice-over because 312 Chicago’s Pastry Chef Kim Schwenke made us breakfast. Three words: grapefruit campari jam! Have some of that on olive oil pound cake with fresh ricotta? Yeah, it turns your daily bowl of Coco Puffs into weak kung fu. She rounded out the spread with baked oatmeal, pate de fruit, chocolate biscotti and other things meant to be nibbled. Yum.
David spent the time sharing stories of being an ex-Pat in Paris. Things like the discrete real estate market, bad internet providers, how it’s more effective to curse people out in English, and his yearly visa renewal odyssey. Day-in-the-life stuff. Which was cool even if it did suck the romance out of the idea to sell everything and live a fabulous life in a foreign country. He dished little tidbits about his time at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse, and the odd requests from customers who walked in the door. And expressed his confusion at all the macaroons that people wanted him to try in the states, “It’s not like I take people out for deep dish pizza in Paris.”
When it comes to desserts, he feels that “People don’t want the weird stuff. They want vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.” But he still tests his recipes years after they’ve been published, and rewrites them based on how he cooks now. It’s a nerdy attention to detail coupled with his self-deprecating humor that has pastry fans tracking him down, and has undoubtably contributed to his success as a blogger and author. If you have a chance to see David while he’s in town take the opportunity, else pick up one of his books and hope the sweet life rubs off on you.
This was a press event. Breakfast was provided free of charge.