Pierrick Boyer has opened his much-anticipated café patisserie sweet new digs in Prahan. He took a moment to tell Baking Business about the business, his approach to food, and his passion for luxury watches.
Pierrick Boyer Café Patisserie: Sweet new digs
Melburnians who eagerly awaited the opening of the Pierrick Boyer Café Patisserie have had their dreams come true, with the café patisserie now off and racing.
Opening the café was inevitable for the French-born chef, who grew up next to a pasty shop outside of Paris in Croissy-sur-Seine.
“I lived there until I was five years old,” Pierrick says.
“My dad was a plumber and my grandfather was in the coal business. I remember I didn’t want to have my hands black or dirty, and it was cold in winter and I remember that I preferred to be inside in a temperate environment and eating food!
“Whenever my parents were looking for me, I was next door talking to the chef or eating ice cream.”
Pierrick made a name for himself as the executive pastry chef at the RACV Club’s Le Petit Gateau. While there, Pierrick won the Gault and Millau Pastry Chef of the Year award.
“It’s the highlight of my career,” Pierrick says.
“I was really humbled and a bit surprised because it’s Gault and Millau, and Gault and Millau has such a strong name, maybe not in Australia, but worldwide it’s pretty big.
“They’re pretty new here—I think it’s maybe their second or third year— but Gault and Millau is like three-star Michelin level of excellence.”
Seeking the freedom of his own business, Pierrick left Le Petit Gateau to open his eponymous 70-seat patisserie offering his signature cakes and pastries alongside café fare.
“I’m not reinventing the wheel,” Pierrick says. “An eggs benedict is an eggs benedict, but when we do one we do the hollandaise is fresh.”
The open space is divided into a seating area, a retail section offering spreads and other take-home goods, a service area and kitchen.
“The way we are set up, we can do 10 times more than what we are doing but that’s for when we’re going to be seriously set up.”
In the pastry cabinet you’ll find good old classics, such as pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and chaussons aux pommes (apple turnover) alongside new creations such as the Charlotte Tiffany—a tiffany blue cake named after Pierrick’s daughter—and an apple tarte tatin.
“That’s my favourite at the moment,” Pierrick says.
“It’s so good. It’s an apple that’s baked in salted caramel. It’s baked and moulded and shaped and then it’s glazed and goes on top of custard. It’s just beautiful.”
His other top favourite is the almond croissant.
“It’s like a pain au chocolat but with almond cream and hazelnut that is to die for—it’s seriously insane. I have one almost every day,” he laughs.
Sweet new digs
Important to Pierrick are the gluten-free options. The vegan carrot cake, vegan cheesecake and energy bar are some of the products created by Pierrick and his gluten-free chef Zoe.
Pierrick has worked with some big guns of the pastry industry, including Christophe Michalak, who Pierrick cites as the mentor who impressed the most upon him.
“I was 30 years old [when I worked for him] and I had experience in production and was willing and eager to learn,” Pierrick recalls.
While the rest of the crew had Pierre Herme or Michelin-restaurant backgrounds, Pierrick says it was his attitude that served him well.
“I learnt so much. He taught me you don’t have to be overly complicated. Each step needs to be done well and maximised.
“Sometimes cakes are overfilled with fruit and glaze and chocolate and decoration and gold and things. Why? Because they have to hide another step that hasn’t been perfect.
“I prefer to have a simple cake—nicely glazed, nice chocolate garnish and then, bang! That’s why my cakes in general are a lot more streamlined and simplified.”
Pierrick’s love of the finer things extends out of the kitchen and into the fashion world where he’s known as an avid watch connoisseur.
“I collect them, absolutely. I’m drawn to the craftsmanship, which I can relate to through my work.
“When I did my first communion, my uncle godfather gave me a watch. I think I was 22 [when] I bought my first watch after working and saving a few thousand dollars. I bought mine, which I’ve sold probably 10 or 15 years later and probably doubled that money. So I was like, oh you can have fun and meet people and make some money, so it’s pretty good.”
But do expensive watches and the kitchen go together? The answer: sometimes.
“Today I’m wearing a diving watch, so chocolate will not do anything to it. I have some Patek Phillippe, but those ones, they don’t go near anything because they’re too precious.
“Yesterday, I was doing the dishes with the machine but I had on a gold watch. That doesn’t matter, it can get wet and clean up and that’s fine. But with another one with a leather band, it’s more casual or corporate sweet new digs.”
But Pierrick’s big love is his six-month-old daughter who, along with inspiring a new cake, has also influenced the café patisserie’s layout.
“We decided to make it pram and handicap accessible so the entrance is very easy and straightforward for people. And we have a change table as well.”
For now, Pierrick plans to stabilise the business and continue with his ambassadorships, consulting and events.
He adds, “Food is life—it’s essential to living. As a creative person it’s about creating and having fun and you feed people. Not a lot of jobs can have that freedom and that pleasure.”