THE AR­TI­SAN: HOW SWEET IT IS!

Christophe Devoille’s pâtis­serie epit­o­mizes the Wynn Palace ethos. At Sweets, pre­ci­sion, art, and de­light­ful sur­prise rule the day.

Wynn Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Mark Ell­wood

Christophe Devoille’s pâtis­serie epit­o­mizes the Wynn Palace ethos. At Sweets, pre­ci­sion, art, and de­light­ful sur­prise rule the day.

It Isn’t dif­fi­cult to find sweets, the pâtis­serie tucked into one cor­ner of wynn Palace. Just fol­low the heady smell of toast­ing waff le cones that wafts down the walkway. the man re­spon­si­ble, pas­try czar christophe devoille, sits in the café dressed in crisp chef’s whites. Burly and shaven-headed, he has a shy smile, but he’s pal­pa­bly proud of his new candy king­dom. the stand­out is the cab­i­net burst­ing with bite-size, pas­tel-col­ored morsels. “oh, here, they love how we have rethought the mac­aron.” devoille lingers on the word; even af­ter spend­ing much of his cook­ing ca­reer trekking the world, he re­tains a strong french ac­cent. fit­tingly, since the chef in­tends to bring a spe­cial touch to the bak­ery here: those mac­arons are his pièce de ré­sis­tance. “You need skill, prac­tice, and good equip­ment to make a clas­sic mac­aron,” he says, not­ing the pre­cise ra­tio be­tween fill­ing and shell. for the per­fect cookie, the fill­ing should weigh half as much as the meringue.

The mac­arons use fruit shipped in fresh from Ja­pan, Korea, and even the green mar­kets of Paris, in 16 cus­tom fla­vors, from yuzu to co­conut, vanilla, red bean, and chest­nut.

But Devoille wasn’t sat­is­fied with a clas­sic ap­proach; rather, he was de­ter­mined to cus­tom­ize the recipe es­pe­cially for Wynn Palace. In too many pâtis­series, he no­ticed, the fill­ing was jam-like and far too sweet. Af­ter dozens of tast­ings and ad­just­ments, he work­shopped a so­lu­tion: re­mov­ing up to a third of the sugar. The re­sult­ing mac­arons em­pha­size fresh­ness and acid­ity, and use fruit shipped in fresh from Ja­pan, Korea, and even the green­mar­kets of Paris. Now, there are 16 cus­tom f la­vors on of­fer every day, from yuzu to co­conut, vanilla to red bean and chest­nut. Such painstak­ing per­fec­tion­ism is what brought Devoille to the at­ten­tion of Steve Wynn. For Wynn, this cake shop is a pas­sion project, its wall mo­saics in­spired by the Amer­i­can artist Wayne Thiebaud’s mouth­wa­ter­ing paint­ings of col­or­ful treats, par­tic­u­larly 1964’s Four Ice Cream Cones. The long­time art col­lec­tor tasked his pas­try chef with cre­at­ing “ed­i­ble Pop art,” and Devoille didn’t dis­ap­point. It’s no sur­prise, given his cook­ing pedi­gree. Devoille’s ca­reer be­gan in the kitchen at home in Stras­bourg, the Ger­man-inf lected city on France’s eastern reaches. “Like any kid in France, I made lots of cakes with my mother,” he says. Af­ter pas­try school and a stint work­ing at a French restau­rant in Man­hat­tan to pol­ish his English, Devoille joined the team of Miche­lin-starred chef Alain Du­casse. He spent more than a decade at Du­casse’s side, even­tu­ally ris­ing to be­come head of his en­tire dessert team. In that role, Devoille trav­eled around the world su­per­vis­ing sweets at the chef’s many venues, from Las Ve­gas to Tokyo. “Alain Du­casse taught me to re­spect the prod­uct, and to be un­com­pro­mis­ing: If some­thing is sup­posed to be eight inches by two inches, it isn’t 2.2—it’s per­fectly cut,” he says. Devoille cred­its Du­casse with shap­ing his tastes, too, and teach­ing him how to com­pose a dessert à l’assi­ette, or dessert plate. Con­trast is cru­cial, he ex­plains, bring­ing creamy, soft, crunchy, and iced tex­tures to­gether in a sin­gle serv­ing. In the pas­try chef’s new role with Wynn Palace, he’s able to in­dulge that ex­per­tise via a wide va­ri­ety of desserts. Five dis­tinct sta­tions make up Sweets: Along­side those mac­arons, there’s a sor­bet and ice cream se­lec­tion of al­most 20 f la­vors, plus a case filled with an abun­dance of clas­sic French pas­tries. There’s also a show­case for home­made choco­lates and truff les. “Three peo­ple were hired just to take care of the choco­late. Ev­ery­thing is home­made, even the pra­line,” Devoille re­veals. Most shops buy their nut paste ready-mixed, he adds, but his ar­ti­san al­ter­na­tive has more tex­ture and crunch. It’s a typ­i­cal touch for the de­tail-ob­sessed dessert mae­stro. As for the fi­nal sta­tion, which serves crêpes and waff les, it’s here that the pâtissier truly in­dulged his in­ner Willy Wonka. Every sin­gle grid­dle iron at Sweets was cus­tom-cast for him, with a unique tweak: At the cen­ter of each is the Wynn Palace logo, like a tasty tat­too. It’s a tes­ta­ment to Devoille’s de­vo­tion to his new job. “That was my first dream,” he says, “to be an amaz­ing pas­try chef at a ho­tel, or a palace.”

Chef Devoille at work on the best kind of assem­bly line.

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