This week a couple of the Story team headed down to Haggerston to the latest in the TOAST talk series, to watch an interview with David Lebovitz and to hear all about his experiences as a San Franciscan living and working as a pastry chef in Paris.
On arrival at Trip Kitchen, usually home to the Turkish/Cypriot-inspired food by Selin Kiazim, we received a refreshing aperitif from Kamm & Sons before settling down for the talk, led by Fiona Beckett.
David, in his frank and funny style, told us of the trials and tribulations of moving to Paris; from starting out as a chef to confrontations with surly Parisian supermarket cashiers. He also answered some challenging questions about his approach to French cooking. He made the point that the once untouchable traditional French cuisine was becoming more open to external influences and flavours, and that even the street food trend so prevalent in London is gaining popularity in Paris. David also expressed his distaste for pretentious food presentation and square plates: “I judge whether I want to go into a restaurant by looking at their plates and carpets. It tells you a lot”.
He also took the time to answer questions from the audience about setting up a blog and compiling cookery books, his main piece of advice being “write about what you love”. David made it all sound so simple and left us all mentally packing our bags and leaving on the first flight to Paris to start our new lives as pastry chefs.
We were then treated to an array of treats made using David’s recipes, and cooked by some of London’s top food writers and bloggers including Sig Johansen and Debora Robertson. Highlights included a crunchy olive tapenade and a deliciously sweet and salty caramelised onion and anchovy tart. After such an inspirational interview we had no choice but to get our hands on a copy of David’s stunning new book, My Paris Kitchen, and practice our French cookery skills whilst planning the big move to Paris…!