Jean-Georges, Johnny and the Macaroon
The guy in soft focus to the left is world-class and world-traveling chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and the equally fuzzy guy on the right is J-G’s pastry chef, the super-talented (super-cute) Johnny Iuzzini. I’ve known them both for a long, long time (I met Jean-Georges when he first came to New York in 1986 and I worked with Johnny when he was the pastry chef at Daniel and I was writing the CafÃ© Boulud Cookbook), but I still couldn’t have predicted what they were about to do.
Before lunch was served, Johnny, my friend Rica, who was also in Daniel’s kitchen and also part of the cookbook project, and I were just catching up. I talked a little about what I’d done in Paris the week before and mentioned the pastries I’d seen, tasted and heard about, among them personalized macaroons.
We had a great lunch – no surprise, I know – and way too many desserts, then it was time for the petits fours parade: chocolates, marshmallows and a silver tray of the tiniest macaroons imaginable. My back was to the room and Rica and I were chatting when the waiters walked over and fussed uncharacteristically to find just the right place for the plates. They put the dishes down, but they didn’t really move away. When I looked down I could see why. Again, it’s a very fuzzy photo, but here’s the macaroon tray:
That little spot on the lime macaroon? That’s a picture of me that Johnny grabbed off the internet, shrunk down, down, down and stuck on the fragile cookie.
Keep your monogrammed Hermes bags, Turnbull & Asser shirts and Cartier bracelets – anyone can have them. I’ll take my one-of-a-kind picture-perfect macaroon, please. Thanks guys!