Patrice Demers’s reputation as a hyper-imaginative virtuoso in the pastry kitchen is well-established in Quebec.
But, unjustly, has yet to jump the cultural divide to English Canada—unless you count the many chefs who admire him and food writers like me, who consider a trip to Montreal without a stop at his Patrice Pâtisserie to be a trip wasted (well, badly mismanaged, anyway). Still, Demers’s newest book, Parcours Sucré, is available only in French. It is his most lushly produced and beautifully photographed yet. It is something of a hybrid format, organized not by recipe type but instead according to the timeline of the restaurants he worked at before opening his pâtisserie in 2014. Sections are punctuated with tributes to the people he worked with at those stops along the way, from icons of the Montreal restaurant scene like Claude Beausoleil and James MacGuire to his close friend and three-time collaborator (at Montreal’s Laloux, Newtown and Les 400 Coups), chef Marc-André Jetté. The highly detailed recipes span many of Demers’s new classics, from black sesame financiers with mango and yuzu to his defining “le vert.” There are also a handful of manageable simplicities, such as his thyme-accented galette and chocolate pot de crème with caramel and Maldon salt. As Patrice Pâtisserie is a proper café, exquisite savoury dishes are also included (say, boudin croquettes with soft-boiled egg, wax beans and béarnaise). The book is a must for all aspiring pastry chefs. Even the legendary Ladurée of Paris has taken notice of Demers’s talent: this Christmas, in an honour unheard of for a Canadian pastry chef, it will be selling a selection of Demers’s unique bûches de Noël and macarons. — J.R.