David Lebovitz in Chicago

David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz

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.”

Biscotti

Enough chocolate biscotti to drive you coo coo.

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.

  1. Jean Marie left a comment on March 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Love that man! His humor, stories, recipes, all of it. I made his thin mint brownies this afternoon and am waiting (impatiently) for them to cool. Perhaps he’ll tackle grapefruit campari jam when he returns to Paris.

  2. Tammy left a comment on March 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    The grapefruit campari jam was the creation of local pastry chef Kim Schwenke. You can get some of that over at the Hotel Allegro. 🙂

  3. Megg left a comment on March 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Aw man.. what an opportunity! I didn’t even know he was in town. Thanks for sharing!

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