From Our Editors
Payard’s journey began almost 50 years ago in Nice, France, where he was born into a warm, flour-dusted family of pastry artists. He spent his childhood peeking over grandpa’s shoulder at the renowned family pastry shop, Au Nid des Friandises, on the Riviera. These early experiences shaped him fundamentally, and as a young man, François took his talent to Paris to serve as pastry chef in Michelin-rated La Tour d’Argent and Lucas Carton. But like the Statue of Liberty, François was inevitably New York bound, and made his way to the Big Apple in 1990. He started his first pastry chef role at Le Bernardin, which was awarded four stars by the New York Times. He also first opened the restaurant Payard Patisserie & Bistro in 1997, opening his own bakery in 2010.
Today, François’s menu focuses on the classics: pain au chocolate, éclairs, and tarts, such as the seasonal Papa Payard. He also handcrafts signature cakes, from milk-chocolate espresso to flan, and savory sandwiches, quiches, and salads.