If you haven’t yet been to Éclair, the cozy bakery and coffee shop, at 305 East 53rd Street, it’s well worth a visit. Why wait when such delicious and authentically French baked goods are available here in our own neighborhood?
As I entered Éclair, I could see Chef Stephane Pourrez and his assistants at work in the immaculate, open kitchen. I was welcomed with a cup of coffee, and soon Chef Pourrez joined me. His career began in a Paris suburb, at the advanced age of eight, when he began baking at home to the displeasure of his mother, who had to clean up.
Chef Pourrez opened Éclair four years ago, bringing with him extensive French culinary training and restaurant experience, including a stint as head waiter at the storied Moulin Rouge. The energy and dedication needed by a pastry chef and bakery owner is clear as he moves around the kitchen. His days begin at five o’clock in the morning; he has had almost no vacation since he launched Éclair. “This is my destiny,” he said, “I love it.”
And you can taste the love when you eat his wonderful pastries. My first problem was choosing from the wide array of perfectly baked and finished goods on display, some finely decorated and filled, others “plainer,” like beignets, turnovers, chocolate chip cookies and many more.
I was snapping pictures, when a customer ordering a variety of items, told me, “I am French, and I guarantee this is good.” Now I, too, can make this guarantee: I just finished two inexpressibly pleasurable jam-filled beignets. Stop by Éclair, meet Chef Pourrez, and indulge a little. New Yorkers deserve as much enjoyment as the French.