Last week friends, family and fans of La Renaissance Café and Patisserie celebrated French-born pastry chef and co-owner Jean Michel Raynaud, and founder and co-owner Sally Charkos’ incredible accolade.
Relais Desserts is the pâtisserie equivalent of a Michelin Star, renowned for its rigorous selection process, with inclusion through invitation only. One of just 80 members, Raynaud and La Renaissance has extended the reach of the organisation, and its mission to celebrate the best in the profession, to the fourth corner of the globe.
“After 35 years, Relais Desserts is still at the forefront of French pâtisserie, it is such an honour to be included,” said Jean Michel. “On a personal level this is as high as you can go. I hope this achievement encourages people to follow their dreams and embrace what they are passionate about.”
Gourmands including Maeve O’Meara and Matt Okine from Triple J, Designer Simone Zimmerman, Steve Flood and Will Stuart from My Kitchen Rules and respected food bloggers like, Simon Leong from Simon Food Favourites, friend and contributing writer Bobbie O’Sullivan from SydneySocial101.
With French Champagne in hand, Champagne Veuve Rayer, the evening we were treated to individual tastings of the dessert Jean Michel created for his Relais Desserts induction ceremony, a gateau of quintessentially Australian flavours such as lemon myrtle, aniseed myrtle and rosella (wild hibiscus).
“I’m thrilled to take Australian native ingredients to France and share the sweetest parts of Australian food with other members from across the globe, and help put Australia on the international pâtisserie map,” Raynaud said.
Other creations from La Renaissance served at the celebration included a Goya Cake of raspberry mousseline and passionfruit cremeux; a Zulu Cake of Valrhona chocolate mousse with a salted choc caramel centre; and Jean
Michel’s signature cake, Fraise de Venus, a pain d’epices base with strawberry cremeux, creme fraiche and lemon myrtle mousse, finished with an almond crunch.
The array of French fare also included incredible savoury pastries, from tartelettes with chicken liver pâté and olive tapenade, to Lorraine and Provençal mini quiches created by Raynaud and his team especially for the evening.
A gourmet table of charcuterie: San Daniele prosciutto, fennel and garlic salami, fig compote and fresh fruit; and Simon Johnson’s incredible French cheeses: Delice de Bourgogne, Marcel petite comte la couronne, the Mon pere brie, and Bleu de Basques blue cheese; were also served to the delight of guests.
Vidocq, importers of France’s finest single vineyard premium wines, selected and supplied the top drops for the evening including; Domaine Paul Prieur & Fils 2012, from Sancerre in the Loire Valley; and the Chateau Pesquie “Cuvee Terasse” 2012 from Ventoux in the Rhone Valley.
Images courtesy of Damian Shaw Photography