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Home > NOTEWORTHY DINING > Las Vegas Noteworthy Dining > Payard Patisserie and Bistro > Conversations with Chefs
Francois Payard
When Payard Patisserie & Bistro opened at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas late last year, it already had a devoted following of foodie fans. After all, its sister restaurant, Payard, has been an institution on New York's Upper East Side since 1997. At TravelsinTaste.com, we knew we had to try it. You can read the full listing for the restaurant by clicking here.

We got our chance on our most recent trip to Vegas, during which we dined on mouthwatering meals and perfect pastries courtesy of Francois Payard himself, whom we were lucky enough to engage in an intimate conversation about his tastes for food and fun. He told us, for instance, where he finds his inspiration, how he feels about the Las Vegas dining scene, and why he loves cars and motorcycles almost as much as he loves food. Here's the scoop.

Chef Payard, who is a James Beard "Best Pastry Chef" award winner, first became interested in making fine pastries as a boy in France. "I am a third-generation pastry chef and basically grew up in the pastry shop," he says. "We even lived in an apartment on top of the shop. It was called Au Nid des Friandises and is now called Lac Chocolat, a Relais Desserts establishment located in Nice, which is in the South of France."

A pastry chef at such notable three-star Michelin locations as La Tour d’Argent and Lucas Carton in Paris, and at such New York landmarks as Le Bernardin and Restaurant Daniel, Chef Payard has learned the tricks of his trade from some of its biggest names. "My mentor was M. Guignone in Vance in the South of France," he says. "I stayed and apprenticed with him for seven years, which included positions as stagiere, commis, sous-chef and chef."

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