Ni­co­las Lam­bert, Caprice

Hong Kong Tatler Best Restaurants (Hong Kong / Macau) - - Best of awards -

A swirl of molten chocolate and a dol­lop of rich, ivory-hued cream. Ripe, blush­ing berries from which crim­son juices could burst at any mo­ment with an in­tox­i­cat­ing aroma. A flurry of ic­ing sugar as del­i­cate as a snow­fall. Dessert, that sat­is­fy­ing fi­nal act of sugar and alchemy to round off an in­dul­gent pa­rade of savouries, so of­ten looks ef­fort­less.

Yet, as those in the busi­ness will tell you, the pro­fes­sion of pas­try chef is not all sweet. It's a de­mand­ing, ex­act­ing job; a great pas­try chef trans­forms of­ten­sim­ple in­gre­di­ents into a con­vinc­ing tale of beauty on the plate—and the palate.

That's why ev­ery year, in ad­di­tion to crown­ing the Best New Chef, we present a spe­cial award for Best Pas­try Chef to recog­nise the ef­forts of this oftover­looked pro­fes­sion. Once again, a stel­lar name from the kitchens of Caprice has risen to take the prize. Ni­co­las Lam­bert is the French restau­rant's new­est pas­try chef, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of last year's win­ner, Marike van Beur­den. But Lam­bert, who spent his life grow­ing up on pas­tries—his par­ents run a bak­ery in Épinal, France and his twin brother, Julien, is also in the busi­ness, work­ing for Patis­serie Lac in Nice— is carv­ing out his own niche.

Lam­bert's desserts are ar­chi­tec­tural won­ders of the sweet­est kind: his sig­na­ture La Fram­boise Re­con­sti­tuée in­ter­prets the rasp­berry in six ways, dec­o­rated with the most del­i­cate, shim­mer­ing cir­cle of thin, pulled sugar. Even more in­trigu­ing is his beau­ti­fully con­structed tarte au cho­co­lat, which rests atop del­i­cate tem­pered chocolate “wheels” to cre­ate a a de­li­cious ed­i­ble car­riage of feuil­letine and chocolate chan­tilly cream. It may break your heart to stick your fork into Lam­bert's breath­tak­ing creations, but we as­sure you that the guilt is short-lived once you have a taste.

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