Painstaking patisserie


Dre in Melbourne, Australia, showed me how to make her caramel éclair with the same level of spectacular professionalism that I discovered in pastry chef, Luis, in san Francisco. Are these a special breed of people? 

Certainly, being able to work in distinctly chilly pastry kitchens is a significant advantage.  Dre told me that she is always so cold that chocolate will harden on her skin.  Clearly, I’m never going to achieve her level of skill as chocolate just melts off me (if it isn’t licked up first!).


This éclair is the stuff of sucrose-induced dreams: even the choux pastry is embellished with shortbread that, horror of horrors, is then cut away.  There are three layers of filling: a bavarois custard, a butter cream and the final mousse set with chocolate –all having different mouth-feels of temperature, ooziness and flavour of caramel.  Nestling in the centre is a crunchy scattering of rice krispies individually coated in caramel and chocolate.  And   the unadulterated luxury and indulgence doesn’t stop there: the whole magnificent confection is topped with shards of dark chocolate and  a fluttering of real gold leaf.  This is a serious pastry that demands uninterrupted attention from first sight to the final crumb plucked from the plate.


Dre has specifically designed her patisserie shop to give the ambiance, sophistication and focus that her delectable creations deserve.  She is a woman at the height of her profession and anyone visiting Melbourne would reap the rewards of visiting this emporium of delights.

You can tell that I’m quite enthusiastic!  But her approach to employing a superb diversity of staff was just as admirable – and she benefits from the equal diversity of skills they bring from all over the world and every part of the community.  It must be so satisfying to make wonderful food amidst such an environment of skill and enthusiasm.

I’m just horribly sad that our video coverage was marred by the loss of a wallet containing the vital footage.  The police correctly didn’t anticipate any prospect of recovery but we did manage to capture the essential elements of Dre’s éclair – watch and drool!