Chef François Payard of Francois Chocolate Bar at the Plaza Hotel - Biography
New York, NY
François Payard is a third generation French pastry chef who cultivated his passion for the art of pastry as a child in his grandfather’s acclaimed shop, Au Nid des Friandises on the Riviera.
After honing his classic pastry skills by his family’s side, Payard moved to Paris where he learned the artistry and refinement of transforming traditional desserts into exquisite plated presentations whose taste, texture and originality opened new horizons in his career. His dedication and passion earned him positions France’s finest kitchens including La Tour d’Argent and Lucas Carton.
Payard’s desire to travel and discover a new culture brought him to New York in 1990. He was eager to experiment with new ideas, flavors and techniques. He worked as Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin and later joined Chef Daniel Boulud for the opening of Restaurant Daniel. In 1995, The James Beard Foundation named Payard Pastry Chef of the Year.
In 1997, François’s childhood dream of opening his own restaurant became a reality. Branches of Payard opened in New York, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Japan and Korea. Most recently, he opened François Chocolate Bar at the Plaza Hotel in New York and Francçois Payard Bakery.