Jessica Préalpato, pastry chef at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée restaurant in Paris, has just been named the World’s Best Pastry Chef 2019 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Follow along for a chance to discover in her trail a certain pastry ideal between cuisine and “naturalness”, inherent to seasonal products and producers.
“If a fruit is sugary enough to begin with, like pears can be, it is not necessary to add more.” This is one of the mottos Jessica Préalpato, just promoted to World’s Best Pastry Chef 2019 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants, lives by. In many ways codifies her whole way of cooking: bring out the natural beauty of foods with culinary expertise.
Already playing in the big league and familiarized with excellence, she is currently the pastry chef at the Plaza Athénée restaurant in Paris since 2015. She has reached the top of the world of patisserie, producing alongside the big dogs such as Pierre Hermé, Dominique Ansel and Cédric Grolet last year.
The “naturalness” approach to pastry
The 33-year-old from Landes says she is very honored by this title, which allows her to hold France and Paris high:
“I am very proud to have received this award from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants: for the recognition that it obviously represents for the entire team at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée restaurant, but also because, aside from the technique required, the entire ‘naturalness’ approach to pastry is being acknowledged!”
In line with the work of Chef Romain Meder—the chef at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée restaurant—for the last three years, Jessica Préalpato has actually been redefining the outline of a new type of patisserie that borders with cuisine, anchored in the concept of “naturalness,” inherent to seasons and producers, respectful of tastes and the environment.
Alain Ducasse praises her talent and her new vision of pastry
Jessica Préalpato combines the use of the grill with the oven and the frying pan; she uses it to experiment, season, extract and bring out flavors. She loves playing with sourness and bitterness. “Customers should not get bored with dessert. Each bite must be different.” And each pastry must evoke the concept of "Desseralité"* beyond patisserie itself, which must be a celebration.
Alain Ducasse congratulates his pastry chef and interprets her approach: “This award is a tribute to Jessica’s boldness, who has put her talent and work at the service of a new vision of patisserie. In perfect harmony with the cuisine of ‘naturalness’, she has created Desseralité based on her passion for produce and the absolute mastery of the technique."
Jessica Préalpato has grown up in a gourmet universe: her parents are pastry chefs as well. After receiving her literature baccalaureate and studying Psychology (a field she is passionate about) at the university for a few months, she soon realized what made her tick—patisserie. She then joined the hotel school of Biarritz, where she specialized in the field of "Cuisinier en dessert de restaurants" (Restaurant dessert chef).
After working with Philippe Labbé at Chèvre d’Or, in Eze, and then with Philippe Etchebest at l’Hostellerie de Plaisance, in Saint-Emilion, she joined La Table des Frères Ibarboure, in Bidart, and later Frédéric Vardon for the opening of his 39V restaurant in Paris, where she stayed for two years. Then she became junior sous chef at Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme.
Jessica Préalpato publishes her book Desseralité.
In November 2012, Frédéric Vardon called to offer her the job of executive pastry chef for the Corfou Group, which gave her the chance to travel through France and abroad: Dubai, Tokyo, Beirut, St. Petersburg, thus enriching herself with new cultures, discovering new products and new flavors.
In November 2015, she joined the team at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée restaurant as pastry chef. In November 2018, Jessica Préalpato published a book titled Desseralité, edited by Alain Ducasse, where readers can discover her universe through 45 unique, unexpected creations.