This may sound like a script for a Woody Allen film: Our protagonist, intrepid Israeli pastry chef, Tal Spiegel, is Desserted In Paris. He’s on a quest to find his life’s passion in the form of a great pair of shoes and spectacular, color co-ordinated desserts in the “City of Light.” (Let’s face it, movies have been produced with lesser storylines, but I digress…)
In reality, however, the native of Holon, Israel, who trained as a graphic designer at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design & Art, is bundled in a chic knit scarf & toque, shivering on a bench on the Rue de Seine in January. He’s unpretentiously explaining to me via Skype, how he became an Instagram sensation with over 40,000 followers.
“I decided a year ago that the next stage of my life would be to combine my love for design with my passion for baking and applied to Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts in Paris to become a pâtissier,” says Spiegel, 32, who recently graduated. “That entailed learning French before I left Israel, then, when the course started, getting up at 5:00 a.m. and baking like crazy.”
Shoes are an obsession for Spiegel and he has over 60 pairs from elegant two-toned wingtips to checkered canvas and leather slip-ons, an array of sneakers in eye-popping colors and even flip-flops. His Imelda Marcos moment began like many unscripted discoveries – by coincidence. “ I was out walking with a friend and we bought pastries and I was trying to take a photo with a nice angle. I noticed afterwards that my shoes were in the photo and I posted it. I had many nice comments and the project just grew from there.”
And voila! Desserted In Paris took on a life of its own with Spiegel visiting not only the most famous patisseries in Paris but discovering incredible gems off the beaten path, then posting everyday on Instagram.
And the desserts – ooh-la-la! Masterpieces like Fauchon Paris’s Mona Lisa chocolate almond eclair (Leonardo must be drooling in his grave); Sadaharu Aoaki ‘s lime green matcha bisquit, cream and chocolate ganache (“I love it so matcha”) posts Spiegel; Angelina Paris’s vibrant red almond biscuit with vanilla cream raspberry confit and Acide Macaron’s neon pink peach and black lemon cake, posted with Spiegel’s hot pink slip-ons.
Good thing Spiegel makes such great use of his collection of shoes walking between patisseries – a must to burn off all those calories. “I devour with my eyes first,” he confesses.
And what will Spiegel do as an encore now that he’s a bona fide pâtissier? I suggest that after Desserted In Paris, he should have a line-up of job offers.
“I’d like to open my own patisserie, maybe in the U.S., I’m not sure yet,” he smiles. Perhaps another coincidence will come his way to decide his future.
TOP PHOTOS: (l-r) Holiday Madeline, Fauchon Paris; Laurent Favremot’s Star Wars Homage made of a crunchy nut base, a 70% Darth chocolate mousse with a parliné core. “May the fork be with you”; Pistachio chocolate escargot from Pain et des Idees. Second Row (l-r) Oh Venus, apples & rose, Pierre Hermes, Paris; Savoury + Sweet from La Grandes Epicerie, Paris; Tribute to Hokusai The Wave eclair, Fauchon Paris. All Courtesy of Desserted In Paris