One of my favourite cake shops in Melbourne is Le Petit Gâteau – a cake heaven for the most discerning sweet tooth like me. The Little Collins Street patisserie tempts me in every time with their indulgent cakes and tarts. It’s all thanks to their award-winning French pastry chef, Pierrick Boyer, and his team.
Their cakes are all modelled on original recipes and are purposely minimalist. Pierrick and the team believe in simple yet contemporary, distinctive flavours. Pierrick has received many awards for his delicious creations in his impressive career spanning 21 years in hospitality and dining including, the Ritz Carlton in Boston and the Plaza Athenee in Paris.
I caught up with Pierrick to find out what makes him tick and discover the secret ingredient of his signature cake, the Brownie and Passionfruit Chocolate Gâteau.
Who have been your biggest influences throughout your career?
In my 25 years of dessert making, my biggest influences were Christophe Michalak at the Plaza Athenee, Paris, Frederic Loraschi in Pennsylvania, while working at the Ritz Carlton Boston and Stephane Leroux while working in Brussels.
When did you start baking?
I started baking when I was 15 when living near Paris.
What is your signature cake?
My signature cake is the Brownie and Passionfruit Chocolate Gâteau. I worked on the dark chocolate passion flavours back in 1998 when I lived in California, then it changed & evolved to what it is now.
I finalised the cake when Le Petit Gateau opened seven and half years ago! Since then, I’ve added vanilla in the chocolate mousse. The cake consists of a walnut brownie base with layers of hazelnut crunch, passion custard, dark chocolate (55%) vanilla mousse. Finally it is topped with a shiny chocolate glaze and a mango/passion jelly.
Where are your favourite places to eat out in Melbourne?
So many to mention! Pho Nom at Emporium, Tuck Shop take-away in Caulfield (my top favourite burger place), Lau’s Family Kitchen in St Kilda and Hu Tong in the CBD (stunning simple Chinese), 400 Gradi, (stunning pizza) and Valentino in Hawksburn by Chef Riccardo Momesso.
You have worked extensively overseas: what inspires you while travelling?
I am inspired by visiting or travelling to areas with other cultures that inspire me. I love the multi-cultural aspect of it.
What is your favourite cake at Le Petit Gateau?
The hazelnut 1000 feuille. The cake consists of a hazelnut dacquoise sponge, hazelnut cremeux, milk chocolate then finished by a milk chocolate Chantilly. Because of how two ingredients can be highlighted in four different recipes and be so complimentary and yet so simple.
You have won many awards, what have you been the most proud of?
When RACV Le Petit Gateau was voted in the Top 100 Australian food establishments by the public. Also the seal of excellence by the national baking industry.
What is the secret to the perfect macaron?
A perfect meringue, either Italian or Swiss style, thinly grated almond meal, mixing to the right consistency (not too loose or stiff), crusting before baking, then perfect baking. In addition, you must have the filling with the perfect smoothness, flavours and sugar content level. Simply a nice recipe well done.
I notice you use many natural and organic ingredients in your cakes. Is this important in your baking?
Yes, natural, I would say, it’s a personal choice; organic is for the home use as everything is organic. For the restaurants at RACV & Le Petit Gateau, it’s not organic but it’s natural & local as possible.
For me, desserts don’t need to utilise too many complicated ingredients. For me less is more, it’s all about balance, why classics are classic!
Tell me about your famous Mister Green Tea Cake.
After a trip to Tokyo, I had outstanding matcha desserts, so I came back and created Mister Green Tea. At first I did not like green tea or matcha! The trick is keeping the dessert perfectly balanced. The cake consists of a black sesame short crust base, white chocolate matcha mousse with a raspberry cremeux in the middle. To finish, a green tea infused white chocolate spary and raspbery jam.
Who’s feeling hungry now?