About the funnest thing we did at Vegas Uncork’d was attending an itty bitty pastry seminar, given personally by Francois Payard in his restaurant (Payard Patisserie & Bistro) at Caesars Palace, for twenty-five lucky souls who got close enough to the action to be burned by the melted sugar (almost). It was the perfect way to learn all sorts of ideas and pastry tips from this acknowledged master of the craft….and the small crowd soaked up the info like a baba with some rhum (and like the uber-foodies they were).
The event was an under-the-radar-thing — especially when compared with the hundreds and thousands who attended some of the larger get-togethers — but it pointed up what is so special about Vegas’ food and wine festival: Getting up close and personal information from the one of the most exalted chefs on earth.
This was no seminar conducted from a jumbo tron. Francois explained, he joked, he teased and he made you understand the science, art and craft of great pastry — from three feet away.
Watching him (ably assisted by Vegas top toque Gregory Gorreau) explain the dangers of adding cool cream to lethally-hot melted sugar to make caramel, was worth a thousand words, and something no one in attendance will ever forget.
The trouble with intimate events of this kind is that they become victims of their own success. Expect the same thing next year, but in a larger venue, with four times as many attendees.
Something will be lost, but thankfully, the desserts will be just as good.
PAYARD PATISSERIE & BISTRO
In Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. south
Las Vegas, NV 89109