Pastry Chef Thierry Molinengo of Le Grand Véfour - Biography

Paris, France

October 2011

Whilst a young Louis XIV played in the adjacent royal gardens, Le Grand Véfour had just opened in the arcades of the Palais-Royal and begun its tenure as Paris’s first “grand restaurant.” Over the next two centuries, the chefs and kitchen at Véfour would go on to feed France’s political and cultural elite and establish a benchmark for classical French cuisine. These days, Chef Guy Martin’s creative menus are soundly nouvelle French, but they end in a flourish of experiential cuisine, courtesy of Pastry Chef Thierry Molinengo.

One of the highlights is Molinengo’s Cube Manjari: a towering box made of chocolate which the diner cracks open to reveal a multitude of layers. A conventional fromage blanc yields way to a surprising piquilo pepper puree and a crispy olive sablé, intermixed with whole raspberries, raspberry sorbet, and raspberry coulis. The magical cube is topped with a whole raspberry and a raspberry coulis-filled chocolate bonbon, and the effect in the mouth is a sweet, smoky, salty symphony. It’s an unexpected end to a meal surrounded by old-fashioned decor, and its quasi-savory character with a forthright amount of spice makes it one of the more stunning desserts in the City of Lights.