Born in Nice on July 16th, 1966, François Payard is a third
generation French Pastry Chef. He cultivated his passion for the art of pastry
as a child in his grandfather’s acclaimed shop on the Riviera, Au Nid des
Friandises. François grew up surrounded by the delicious classic French pastry
in the tradition carried on by his parents and grandparents for over fifty
After honing his skills in classic pastry by his family’s side, François moved
to Paris where he learned the artistry and refinement of transforming
traditional desserts into exquisite plated presentations. Their taste, texture
and originality opened new horizons in his career. François’s dedication and
passion earned him positions in several of France’s finest kitchens. In 1988,
Payard held his first position as Pastry Chef in Paris at La Tour d’Argent. The
following year, he went on to become Pastry Chef in the kitchen of Alain
Senderens at Lucas Carton. In these renowned restaurants, he met the challenge
of creating dessert menus worthy of a three star Michelin rating.
François’s desire to travel and discover new sights, smells, and flavors brought
him to New York in 1990. Here, he was eager to experiment with new ideas,
flavors, and techniques that he felt would be welcomed in the capital of
cosmopolitan tastes. His first position in New York was as Pastry Chef at Le
Bernardin, a New York Times four-star
restaurant, where he found himself challenged to create a new dessert
repertoire. François became popular for his beautifully presented creations,
bursting with delicate flavors and taste. In 1993, François Payard joined Chef
Daniel Boulud for the opening of Restaurant Daniel, another restaurant given
four stars by the New York Times,
where he delighted guests with his chocolate and seasonal fruit menus. In 1995,
The James Beard Foundation named François “Pastry Chef of the Year” in
recognition of his accent on flavor combined with a unique sense of pastry
In August of 1997, François’ childhood dream of opening his own restaurant
became a reality. At the Lexington Avenue bistro, François strived to innovate
and perfect his work while contributing his ideas and passion to the field of
pastry. The establishment closed its doors the first week of July 2009, due to
the loss of its lease after having been considered one of Manhattan’s finest
culinary destinations for 12 years.
François was acknowledged in 1998 for his outstanding achievements by being
awarded “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the Bon Appétit Food & Entertainment Awards
and again in 2001 by the International Pastry Competition Committee-Beaver
Creek. In July of 2004, The French Government honored François with the
prestigious Ordre du Mérite Agricole, Medal of Honor by the French Government.
And in 2005, he received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for having one of
the most outstanding wine lists of any restaurant on the globe as well as being
selected in 2006 as a member of Relais Desserts International a professional
association of the 85 Best Pastry Chefs in the World. François was also honored
in 2010 with the Dom Pérignon Award Of Excellence, which recognizes outstanding
leadership, character, and work ethic in the hospitality industry.
Branches of Payard, the bistro, opened at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Japan and
Korea. In November 2009, he opened the François Chocolate Bar. Described as “a
chocolate jewelry shop,” the highly praised establishment offers an exquisite
experience in tasting fine chocolates.
In September 2010, François opened FPB, a casual bakery on West Houston Street
in downtown New York City, where guests can enjoy a variety of sweet and savory
selections in an inviting, casual setting. FPB is the first of several
collaborative projects from François and restaurateur Marlon Abela of Marlon
Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC), whose portfolio also includes the A Voce
restaurants in New York City , as well as other restaurants in the U.S. and
London. A second location of FPB opened in Battery Park City in October 2012
and a third location opened in spring of 2012 at 3 Columbus
Circle (58th Street).
Finally, François opened his
flagship store on New York's Upper East Side at 1293 3rd Avenue (at 74th
street). It is a Patisserie, Bar and Bistro, bringing back some of
the great delights from the original Payard.
just a chef, François is also the author of the popular cookbooks “Bite Size:
Elegant Recipes for Entertaining”, Simply Sensational Desserts” and “Chocolate
Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone”. His fourth
book, “Payard Desserts” was recently released in the fall of 2013.
François is also a member of the City Harvest Food Council, which brings
together over 75 of New York City's top chefs, restaurateurs and food industry
professionals to aid in the fight against hunger.
We welcome you to discover and delight in François’ favorite confections
reminiscent of his grandfather’s days.