A taste of Jessica Préalpato’s desseralité at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
Have you ever heard of the world desseralité? Jessica Préalpato, the head pastry chef of three-michelin-starred restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, takes an approach that, apparently, goes against the very nature of her profession: cutting back on sugar. The daughter of two pastry chefs, she found her vocation in making desserts as natural as possible, thus the portmanteau that defines her cuisine.
Fear not: the flavours are still there. Every creation feels lighter, fresher and closer to the true taste and texture of each ingredient. It’s a respectful, more sustainable concept, in line with the ethos of the celebrated Parisian restaurant where Ducasse’s right-hand man Romain Meder runs one of the world’s most important kitchens.
The experience begins on a bitter note, with the Chocolate from Our Factory, Toasted Cereals, Cocoa-single Malt Sherbet. The first reaction is to re-adjust one’s taste awareness: what you see and expect and what you feel on the palate do not match immediately. Everything changes with the second spoon, all the flavours finally emerging in their true state.
A cake with delicate creamy malted barley, frosty beer and hops is mouth-filling and comforting. Cleverly, it comes with a drop of honey on the side of the dish, letting the guest balance the sweetness to their own preference.
The conclusion comes with today’s best dessert: Lemon from Nice, Kombu Seaweeds with Tarragon. The dish is nothing short of a masterpiece; its elegance and vibrancy are almost overshadowed by the incredibly fresh, pulsing sharpness of the lemon and minerality of the seaweeds.
It’s no surprise that, last June, Préalpato was voted the world’s best pastry chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants academy. After three courses, it almost doesn’t feel like we are tasting a sweet menu, but all the flavours are still lingering on our minds.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information about Jessica Préalpato visit the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée website here. The book Desseralité is available online on Amazon.