My Life in Food: Pierre Hermé


Dubbed by French Vogue the "Picasso of pastry", Hermé was first apprenticed to a master pastry chef at age 14. He is praised for his chocolate desserts but worshipped for his macarons. He opened his first shop in Tokyo in 2000 and has since opened six more in Japan, one in London's Belgravia, and six in Paris. Hermé is the only pastry chef to have been made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

I use scales more than anything else. The most important thing in a pastry kitchen is to be accurate, so they are the starting point. I don't really have any I don't use, just the things I need, so a microplane, zester, a whisk, thermomix, stainless steel bowl, that sort of thing. Also some very hi-tech things such as sous vide, which cooks without air and cools a preparation in a controlled way – very useful for ganache and making the filling for macarons.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I would go to the market behind the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. I like the convivial ambience and the contact you get with the food. I would buy fruit, say, pineapple, mango, strawberry. I would also make sure to get some lime, as it is one of the best seasonings you can get. I could put it with any of the fruits I mentioned and it would improve them.

What do you eat for comfort?

I eat macarons. Sometimes my chocolate macaron, which uses a very specific chocolate preparation, and sometimes my passion fruit and mango creation, which is a little more gourmet, a little more complex in terms of flavour. I tend to bring them home every now and again – my family like to be the first to taste anything I make.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Bread. You can put butter on bread, you can put spread on it, some fleur de sel – you can always find a way, simple or complicated, to make a pleasant dish with bread. I get mine from Poilâne in Paris. When it is fresh, I eat it without accompaniment, and when it is a day or two old I toast it and smear butter onto it. But oh, for sautéed potatoes…

What's your desert island recipe?

It is a melon dish (very English). Remove the ends, peel the skin, cut it in two and remove the seeds, making sure to keep them in a separate pan. To the seeds you then add lemon juice and a bit of honey, then you heat it up until it's bubbling. Now cut the melon into chunks and wait for your seed preparation to cool. Now put them together and add some raspberry. It is very simple, very light.

What's your favourite cookbook?

The best I've seen lately is Nathan Myhrvold's book, Modernist Cuisine. It explains what happens when you cook, the science behind it and why some combinations work and others fail. I like lots of old books, too. The classic French preparations, the old ways are very important, I think.

What's your favourite restaurant?

I have lots and lots of favourites. But there is one in Paris which I like going to especially. It is a small bistro called Le Baratin, which is run by a woman chef who is self-taught. The food is a mixture of Argentine and French. It is a place with heart.

Who taught you to cook?

Gaston Lenôtre was the most important person for me. He was my apprentice-master and he gave me the base, the deep knowledge, on which I have built ever since.

ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power