Private Pastry Classes at Valbella
March 05, 2012 | Food & Drink News
Napoleon dynamite: Valbella’s signature dessert
The blowtorch never fails to get a “Whoa!” from the crowd, says Raphael Dequeker (RIGHT), the Brittany-bred pastry chef at Valbella, which offers guests the unique opportunity to play pâtissier.
The make-your-own confection concept evolved from the great interest in Dequeker’s work at the company’s original outpost in Greenwich. Soon after the Alain Ducasse-trained chef joined the Valbella team, customers flocked to the restaurant—and to the back of the kitchen to watch him work his art. When restaurant owners Valerie Malfetano and partner David Ghatanfard opened their first Manhattan location, they built their pastry star a stage so that the show could go on for private parties and invited guests.
Inside the reservation-only pastry room, which has space for approximately 10 guests, Dequeker willingly arms patrons with blowtorches, ready-for-action pastry piping bags, and other culinary armament to craft their own sweet treats. To keep the dessert session from turning into an hours-long ordeal, the pastry team will have wrestled the flaky Napoleon dough into manageability, helped froth the filler cream, and glazed the almonds in syrup before patrons step into the kitchen, so that the act of final creation is an easy, aesthetic joy.
“When we bring the desserts to the table,” says Dequeker, “I say, ‘Thank you very much. If you have any complaints, speak to this person,’ and point to someone who helped.”