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."