In the kitchen with Tal Spiegel, pastry chef and influencer
Since 2015, Tal Spiegel, alias Desserted_in_Paris, has been pairing cakes and colourful footwear. We followed him into the kitchen as he prepared a recipe, for a chance to learn about his inspirations and favourite products. Interview.
Tell us about your passion for sweets.
“My passion for food began when I was a child, and I’ve never lost it! At 23, I was accepted to two schools: a cooking school in New York and a design school in Tel Aviv. I chose to study design, but during my studies I was already working on many projects related to gastronomy and pastries. Once I became artistic director, I wanted to develop this link between pastries and design.
How did Desserted_in_Paris start?
Desserted_in_Paris began by accident! I left my job as an artistic director to learn to make pastries at the Ferrandi school over two years ago now. On my arrival in Paris, I wanted to see and try everything! Every day after class, I would try a new pastry. Each time, I would take a picture and write down in a notebook the composition of the cake I had just tasted. I also memorised the colours, decorative techniques and flavours. Then one day I took a picture of a cake that went particularly well with my shoes... And that’s how Desserted_in_Paris started!
I later created a book with my photos of Paris and my best recipes. It also includes my pastry lover’s itinerary, for a tour of the best pastry shops in Paris!
What type of foodie are you?
I place a lot of importance on aesthetics. Isn’t it said that we taste with our eyes first? At La Grande Épicerie de Paris, I love spending hours walking from stand to stand, taking the time to look at each product.
And taste is of course important. I love testing new flavour combinations, like French pastries with Middle Eastern spices. I combine, for example, mango and mint in a pavlova, two summer flavours consumed a lot in Israel.
You are making one of your new recipes for us. Can you present your creation to us?
I baked this cake in the shape of a cabbage, with a simple and elegant design. It draws the attention, stuns with its pink colour, but doesn’t give away anything about its flavours... to better surprise on tasting! It is made up of a creamy banana and tonka bean mousse, surrounding a praline filling.
Tonka bean is my favourite spice. It has a unique taste that goes well with many things. For example, in this recipe, I combine it with banana to give a twist to its sweet and generous notes. The praline centre and the chopped hazelnuts make it all even more delectable.
Inspire us! What are your favourite products?
I would start with olive oil, which is one of my indispensable products. In Israel, we often use it to grill our meats and fish. I also use it sometimes in my desserts, to make the inserts of my cakes. For a salad, I would choose a fruity green oil, like the one from Piebon with its deliciously fruity flavour.
I would also choose marshmallows: my guilty pleasure! It’s not just a question of taste or texture... There’s also something childlike and amusing about eating them. The ones at La Grande Épicerie de Paris are rather airy, like small clouds. I also like the fun shape of them, in a square shape, and then the flavour... For me, it’s the perfect mix!
Lastly, I often buy Bordier butter when I come to La Grande Épicerie de Paris. It’s one of the first products I discovered when I got here. I tested all the types, like their smoked butter or butter with yuzu. It’s a delicate product, enough by itself. You simply eat it on a slice of bread. I also use their whipping cream in some of my pastries.
To conclude, what is La Grande Épicerie de Paris for you?
I went there the first time when I was a student at the Ferrandi school, which is right next to it.
I would go to look for products and discover others. I especially like the market square, in the centre of the store. I’m always impressed by its product stalls, so varied throughout the year. I can spend hours there! For me, each visit to La Grande Épicerie de Paris is a discovery, a true culinary experience.”