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Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Jean-Philippe Maury's award is part of his work attire.

A nation’s best

Jean-Philippe Maury was judged
Meilleur Ouvrier de France — the best
pastry chef in all of that nation

By Betty Shimabukuro


Jean-Philippe Maury wears the colors of the French flag on his collar and an insignia on the front of his chef's coat: MOF. It stands for Meilleur Ouvrier de France and it means Maury has been judged the best pastry chef in all of that nation.

He won the prize in 1997, when he was 28, besting 20 other chefs in a live cooking challenge. Before that, he survived preliminaries involving a starting field of 120.

The finals involved preparing a 60-piece dessert buffet, with chocolates, pastries, ice cream and show pieces.

"And I won," Maury says, simply. President Jacque Chirac presented him with his medal.

The MOF, awarded just once every four years, is a ticket to the world. Maury cashed his in for the position of pastry chef at Francois Payard's New York restaurant -- Payard being perhaps the best pastry chef in this country.

And now he's baking in Las Vegas. The climate suits him, Maury says, and he's been given the resources to do everything he wants.

He had no hotel experience "and my English was terrible," but with a staff of 70 he's now producing 15,000 pastries daily.

The experience has broadened what was once a very French baking style. "I'm very open now. I make cookies, I make brownies, I make cheesecake."

And he makes carrot cake, served warm, with an orange blossom meringue. Care to follow in the footsteps off the best pastry chef in France? Here, try.


2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces cake flour
1/4 teaspoon each baking soda, salt and baking powder
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
6 ounces shredded carrot
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce roasted walnuts

Bullet Citrus Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of half a lemon
Zest of half an orange

Bullet Italienne Meringue:
2 tablespoons
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

Bullet Cream:
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar

To make cakes: Whip egg yolks and sugar until silky. Add oil slowly.

Sift dry ingredients and spices together, then fold in carrots and add to yolk mixture.

Whip egg whites with last teaspoon sugar until soft peaks form; fold gently into the mix. Fill 6 buttered tart molds (3-1/2 inches in diameter and 1 inch high) with mix and top each with a few walnuts. Bake for 18 minutes at 380 degrees. Unmold on wire rack.

To make syrup: Boil ingredients together for 1 minute. Strain; cool.

To make meringue: Cook together water, sugar and honey to a temperature of 248 degrees. Gradually whip into egg whites until firm peaks form; add orange blossom water. Keep mixing at medium speed until ready to use.

To make cream: Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated.

To assemble: Dip each cake in Citrus Syrup for 5 seconds and place on a baking pan. Top each cake with meringue and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Bake 8 minutes at 370 degrees.

Serve cakes with cream and garnish with diced strawberry and pineapple.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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