Nicolas Paciello

I’m not here to reinvent the wheel


What does he like about Fouquet's ? "The Paris location and the freedom you get there. It’s honest and unfussy. The idea that one era hands the baton onto the next. Grandeur inside and out, with big red awnings and the proud but discreet light on the cobbles like a glaze on the Champs Elysées..." Who said that? Nicolas Paciello. He was elected Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2018, leaving his post as Chef Pâtissier at the Prince de Galles. When he crossed Avenue George V at the beginning of September, this young 34-year-old from Lorraine brought all of his precision and expertise in patisserie to Brasserie Fouquet's and Le Joy, the restaurant at Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s Paris.

When speaking of his passion and his career, Paciello – a Master Patissier - chooses his words carefully: "Organisation is my strong point and I know what I need." He’s very precise, but, for all that, his words are no less colourful – and sometimes frank – when he speaks of his passion: cakes. Paciello is all animation when talking about the headliners: marble cake, tarts, ganache, cakes, cookies... After that, he talks in hushed tones about aesthetics, a taste for beauty and the balance between "a work of art on a plate" and "boutique" cakes.

Looking very much the part in his white Meilleur Ouvrier de France jacket, he talks about his discoveries as "awesome recipes" (he even wrote a book about it *). But at Le Fouquet's, his prized cakes aren’t the only subjects for his enthusiastic and rather “modern” take on "doing things really well". The brasserie? "An amazing playground." Imparting Le Fouquet’s newly revitalised flavours? "The precision is crazy!" The brigade? " They’re with the big boys now. The pressure’s on: they’re totally on the case." 

One of the first things he did was to turn his attention to the legendary mille-feuilles. "Flavour with a capital F for Fouquet's. I know some Chef pâtissiers who make the trip across Paris to get one in their break-time. So why change it? Tweak the cream slightly, maybe... but I’m not even sure of that. I’m not here to reinvent the wheel!" Paciello is like that: he speaks his mind. Of his time – modern – but with an eye for what has gone before. Inventive but respectful and not subversive. His head in the stars but his hands in the dough. And he has already produced his first exercise in style since his recent arrival with "his" yule log for Le Fouquet's. What can he tell us without spoiling the surprise? It will have a red coating and the flavour will have a hint of bergamot. He is still putting the final touches to the other set-pieces – his Epiphany cake and Easter egg. Precise and bold with no fuss, exactly the way he was taught by the extraordinary Chef Philippe Conticini, "my dad" as Paciello calls him discreetly, before heading back off "to work"... 

(*) Recipe book - « Le carnet des recettes qui déchire », Editions Robert Laffont. Over 10, 000 copies sold

"Tea time is back" with swinging flavours
at Hôtel Le Fouquet's

It’s seen as British and a London thing, but it’s also a tradition that the great Parisian hotels have lost sight of: tea time. A deliciously chic afternoon treat for adults that Pastry Chef Nicolas Paciello is breathing a breath of fresh air into for Le Fouquet's. For him, tea time is all about embarking on a journey of flavours.

The setting is the elegant Le Joy restaurant.  Step one: a hint of sweet and savoury: scones, cakes and cookies and a plate of finger food including cucumber, salmon and tuna tataki. Step two: Miniature signature patisseries by Chef Nicolas Paciello, a trio of mini lemon tarts, mini Paris-Brest and mini pistachio eclairs. 

Tea time at Fouquet's by Paciello: gorgeous flavours with a cup of tea. Or a glass of champagne. Tea time.