Q & A With Marc Aumont
Pastry chef Marc Aumont has spent his life in pastry – literally. Growing up in Chamonix Mont Blanc in France, Marc lived in an apartment directly above his father’s chocolate shop, La Gerbe d’Or. There, he spent time honing the craft of both chocolate and pastry.
After time spent in France, Marc met chef David Bouley who lured him into opening a bakery in NYC, subsequently Bouley Bakery. As first a consultant and later the executive pastry chef, Marc helped create one of New York’s preeminent bakeries.
Marc then spent time as executive pastry chef at Compass, earning accolades in 2002 from New York Magazine as a “pastry star” with a “sugar future.” Danny Meyer with Union Square Hospitality Group eventually brought him to The Modern, which found its home in the newly refurnished Museum of Modern Art.
On the dessert menu, Marc serves a white chocolate crémeux with pomegranate gelée, lime marshmallow and mango sorbet, and the Grand Marnier baba with lime sabayon, roasted pineapple and vanilla ice cream.
you want to be when you grew up?
Pastry chef – and if not pastry, then
working in the “arts plastiques” – the visual arts – or philosophy, or teaching
What was your first job in
At the age of 13, I began my pastry apprenticeship with my father’s
specialty chocolate and pastry shop, La Gerbe d’Or, in Chamonix Mont
You grew up in France with a father who was a
pastry chef and chocolatier. When did you first start working in pastry as a
I grew up in an apartment above my father’s shop, and though I
didn’t start officially working until I apprenticed at 13, I loved being by my
father’s side as he worked from when I was a very young.
What techniques did you learn from him that you use to this day?
learned discipline!! He also taught me every classic technique or trick I could
possibly need to know.
You were discovered by David
Bouley while working in France. How did you meet him and how did he lure you to
Bouley Bakery in NYC?
I met David Bouley when I was working in
France. He asked me to consult on the opening of Bouley Bakery, and after the
restaurant’s successful beginnings, David convinced me to move to New York to be
his executive pastry chef.
What compelled you to
leave there and move on to Compass?
I was excited to move to
Compass for the opportunity to challenge myself in new ways and explore a
different style of restaurant – as well as a different part of
You’re now at The Modern, working side by
side with Gabriel Keuther. Unlike many pastry chefs, you tend to create
desserts with the intention of complementing the savory menu… Can you
Gabriel and I want our menus to match each other, because dining
is like reading a book: you have the introduction, the development, and the
conclusion. Dessert is the conclusion, so whatever you do, the dessert needs to
match the overall story.
Seeing as you are also a chocolatier, do you also have a chocolate tasting
at The Modern?
We always have several chocolate desserts on the
menu, of course – right now we have 3 to choose from in the dining room:
· Chocolate Tart, Chocolate “Crémeux” and Sorbet
Milk Chocolate Dacquoise and Raspberry Sorbet
Chocolate Crémeux, Pomegranate Gelée, with Lime Marshmallow and Mango
And we also send out a variety of chocolates at the end of each meal
in the dining room. These chocolates change with the seasons.
What’s your favorite dish on the pastry menu right now?
Depends on the day!!
What’s your least favorite dish
(and yes, you must pick one)?
No, it’s not about a favorite dish or least
favorite – for me, it’s about getting the flavors right and in harmony with all
the components of the dish. If you’ve done that right, you like all your
What is your junk food of choice?
popcorn with salt – not sweet!! Or also the Japanese sake candy that we make
here at The Modern.
Other than your own, what’s your
favorite restaurant in NYC?
I have so many favorites that I can’t pick one
– and the restaurants I like are all so different from one another, but what
they have in common is staff who are “chaleureux” – warm, welcoming – and a good
atmosphere. It’s hard to choose one favorite place, because there are just so
many professionals in NYC’s restaurants working hard every day to achieve
What culinary trend do you most
What trend do you wish
would die already?
None – every new trend that arises is useful in
stimulating our creativity.
What dessert do you plan on
presenting at the SWEET event?
Buttermilk Pannacotta, with a Gelee of
Concord Grapes, and some more goodies.
Any plans to open
your own chocolate company in the imminent future?
I’ve had some ideas,
but it remains just a dream.
What’s next on the horizon for
you? Any new ventures or restaurants in the works? Spill the
Maybe one day I will have a chocolate company, but I’m already
going in so many directions: between creating desserts for The Modern as well as
for Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 inside the MoMA, there is hardly a moment to spare. I
hope to see you at the SWEET event!
Readers can sample Marc Aumont’s dessert at Sweet, SOBE and Food Network’s first New
York’s first dessert festival in New York City. Sweet takes place on
Friday, November 16th at The Waterfront. For more information or to
buy tickets, please call (866)969-2933 or click on SWEET.
Until we eat again,
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