Top Tips to Make Macarons!

LifeStyle FOOD caught up Head Patissier of Sydney's Baroque Bistro, Jean Michel Raynaud, to find out about his famous macarons, passion for pastry and tips to make the perfect macaron!

Where did you grow up? When did you realise you wanted to be a chef?

I grew up in Marseille, France. I always was interested in Patisserie. As a kid, I was in charge of making the weekend cake (crepes, pound cake, marble cake, etc.). In high school, I used to spend my day off getting up at 5am and helping out in my local Patisserie. I loved the camaraderie, the smells, I might not have known it then, but I was always going to end up a Pastry Chef!

What projects or ventures are you currently working on?

At Baroque, we are developing the curriculum of the Master classes. After the incredible response we had to our Macarons classes, we are now working on a new unit (croissant dough and its by-products). The master classes are a great way for people to have an interactive, hands on experience in a professional patisserie kitchen! And they learn real skills they can take away and apply at home.

What does it take to be a successful chef?

Passion! Without it, you will burn out in the first few years. Also - creativity, patience and more importantly, an ability to motivate and instill those attributes in your team.

Is there one dish you still struggle to get right?

With traditional recipes and methods, 30 years in the kitchen does help in getting most things right! However, every time you discover something new, it is always a struggle to tweak successfully it so that it fits within your own cooking philosophy.

Worst job you have ever had?

In Marseille, when I worked in a middle eastern sweet shop to learn oriental sweet making…I can’t even talk about what was going on in this kitchen, let me just say that it was dirty…

What is your signature dish?

That would have to be the “ Macaron”.

What is unique about your restaurant?

At Baroque, our heritage is unique. As an offspring of La Renaissance, we have a strong tradition of great quality, honest and modern French infused produces. Baroque, with both its Bistro and Patisserie, is just growing from those foundations, but with a progressive, modern edge.

Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?

The same thing that has always inspired me, working closely with a team of passionate people, from the owners to the apprentices. Every one works with the same dedication to tradition and creativity.

What is the chef serving in foodie heaven?

My foodie heaven? Artichoke and Palm Tree hearts and a Frangipane Galette.

What is the most bizarre dish you’ve ever tried?

When I was working at “Le Petit Nice”, Gerald Passedat asked me to make a dessert with herbs from Provence to be served with Cheese ice cream…

What is one question people are always asking you?

Why aren’t you fatter with all this food around?!

What is your biggest food indulgence?

Nothing like a simple pasta dish, with Perigord truffle shavings, freshly shredded Parmesan and olive oil, glass of Bordeaux.

How do you have your coffee?

As I get older, I put more and more milk in my coffee, right now, strong flat white.

What ingredient are you obsessed with right now?

Red and white bean paste, since I have been to Japan and discovered how they use the subtle texture and taste of the beans or Chestnut to lift the main flavor of the cake. As discussed in Q7, the struggle is to fit within our traditional flavor and textures.

Which three people would to invite to a dinner party?

I’ll avoid the cliché, I would invite my apprenticeship Chef, Robert Schicci, Jidu Krishnamurti and Angelina Jolie, that should be an interesting dinner.

What is your best tip for home cooks?

You can’t make a good compote with bad apples, always use the best ingredients you can put your hands on and keep it simple.

Where is your favourite place to travel?

Turkey so far, I have been three times and just love it. The people are kind and welcoming, the smells, colours and of course the amazing cuisine, all make for one of the most exotic and rich countries I have ever been to.

Describe your perfect day off.

Getting up early, go to a nice coffee shop for toast and coffee, go home, listen to music, then go for lunch…so on and so forth.

Here are a couple of insider tips from Jean-Michel on how to make perfect macarons!:

Piping the macarons is so important to get the biscuit shell size perfect. Muck this up, and you are destined for macaron-making failure!

Plastic piping bags are perfect for piping macarons and ganache. They are durable and disposable and come in packets of 50 or 100. Plastic piping bags can be bought from a wholesale kitchenware supplier.

It is preferable to use plastic piping tips over metallic. Metallic tips have a tendency to rust. Size no.11 is perfect for piping macarons.

The type of egg whites used also has a pronounced effect of the success of your macaron shells.

It is important to use “old” egg whites and they must be at room temperature when you start to whip them. Old egg whites have less elasticity which reduce the chance of over mixing the whites. Do not be worried about leaving your egg white to “Age” in your fridge for up to 5 days, and always use them at room temperature.


More about Jean-Michel Raynaud

Head Patissier of the Baroque Bistro in Sydney, Jean Michel Raynaud, began his career under the tutelage of master Patissier, Robert Schicci in Marseille. His exceptional talents for pulling sugar, piping and chocolate carving ensured his rise to head pastry chef by 20; and he has since worked in some of the world's most recognised institutions, including famous 3-Michelin starred French restaurant 'Le Petit Nice'.

Capitalising on his incredible skill-set, Jean-Michel was able to forge a name for himself specialising in the exclusive wedding cake market as the head chef of Sweet Art and Planet Cake. During this period, Jean-Michel was the creative force behind some of the most recognisable original cake designs, copied around the world and appearing in countless books, magazine covers and television shows.

Now, working alongside acclaimed Baroque bistro Chef de Cuisine Peter Robertson, Jean-Michel is enjoying the new challenges and inspirations that his role provides - producing some of Sydney’s finest premium cakes, tartlets, macarons and pastries, as well as desserts for the bistro menu.

To find out more about the Baroque Bistro and their Masterclasses, head to LifeStyle FOOD's Restaurant Guide and follow the link!

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