François Payard is a third generation French Pastry Chef from Nice, France.
François cultivated his passion for the art of pastry as a child in his grandfather’s acclaimed pastry shop on the French Riviera, Au Nid des Friandises. He grew up surrounded by delicious, classic French pastries, in a tradition carried on by his parents and grandparents for over fifty years.
After honing his classical pastry skills in his family’s business, François moved to Paris, where he furthered his talent for transforming traditional desserts into exquisite plated presentations. His abilities and originality earned him positions in several of France’s finest kitchens.
François held his first position as Pastry Chef in Paris at the Three Star Michelin restaurant La Tour d’Argent. He subsequently went on to become Pastry Chef in the kitchen of Alain Senderens at the Three Star Michelin restaurant Lucas Carton. In these renowned restaurants François created and executed dessert menus worthy of the restaurants’ exceptional standings.
The desire to travel and discover new cultures led François to New York in 1990, where he was eager to experiment with new ideas, flavors and techniques.
His first position in New York as Pastry Chef at the celebrated restaurant Le Bernardin challenged him to create a new dessert repertoire. François became known for his innovative and beautiful creations, bursting with unique flavors and refinement.
In 1993, François joined Chef Daniel Boulud for the opening of the NYT four star Restaurant Daniel, where he delighted guests with his chocolate and seasonal fruit menus.
In 1997, François realized his childhood dream of opening his own restaurant, Payard Patisserie. In its elegant location on New York’s Upper East Side, François strived to innovate, perfect, educate and contribute his ideas and passion to the field of pastry. Payard Patisserie was considered one of Manhattan’s finest culinary destinations throughout its 12 year run.
François has received many honors throughout his career:
In 1995, The James Beard Foundation named François “Pastry Chef of the Year” in recognition of his focus on flavor combined with a unique sense of pastry design.
In 1998, François was awarded “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the Bon Appétit American Food and Entertainment Awards and again in 2001 by the International Pastry Competition Committee, Beaver Creek.
In 2004, François was honored with the prestigious Ordre du Mérite Agricole, Medal of Honor by the French Government. He received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for having one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world in 2005.
In 2006, François was elected as a member of Relais Desserts International, a professional association of the 85 Best Pastry Chefs in the World.
He was honored with the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence in 2010.
François was awarded Chef of the Year in 2015 at Las Vegas Food and Wine Festival and also received City Harvest’s Award of Excellence in 2016.
François is the author of a number of popular cookbooks: Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts, Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone and Payard Desserts.
He has opened his namesake bakeries and patisseries in multiple locations in Manhattan and also in Las Vegas, Japan and Korea.
François has also been advisor to a number of highly respected culinary projects and restaurants. As a culinary consultant, François is sought out by restaurateurs and pastry chefs from around the world for his innovative and collaborative spirit.
From 2020 to 2022 François supported one of his closest friends, Tony Fortuna, in opening Tony Fortuna’s T-Bar in the Hamptons, which was an exciting project during a challenging moment in the world.
François is currently bringing his culinary expertise and sophistication to Long Island‘s North Fork at Southold Social by Francois Payard and Southold General both in Southold, New York. These exciting new concepts explore and celebrate exceptional farm to table dining.
He is also completing a new publishing project and several product releases.
Please visit this site regularly for updates.