Demystifying croissants with Alex Talpaert

Alex Talpaert, Maison Eric Kayser Hong Kong’s baby-faced Culinary Director, welcomed me into the 70 Queen’s Road East branch the day we filmed this interview. “Among all our branches in Hong Kong this is perhaps the one that most closely resembles what we have in France,” he explained. The place is cozy but feels larger because of its high ceiling and large windows.

I shared with Alex that I do have a close affinity with Eric Kayser. I pass by the Caine Road branch on my way to yoga practice every Saturday to pick up a batch of my favourite chunky cookies.

Up close with Maison Eric Kayser‘s Alex Talpaert

Alex is a 10-year F&B veteran, having done stints in New York, London, and now Hong Kong. And it was as Executive Pastry Chef of Alain Ducasse’s Manhattan outpost, Benoit, where Alex’s talent was noticed by America’s domestic goddess, Martha Stewart.

“It’s the desserts that I can’t resist,” Stewart enthused on her show, “especially the tarte tatin.” She then proceeded to introduce Alex to the audience. After which Alex shared his recipe with a live studio audience.

There are about 18,000 to 20,000 French nationals in Hong Kong, according to the French Consulate. This is the strongest growth among any expatriate population in the city. And as we’re ever more exposed to Frenchness, we become more discerning in how we consume French products. So much so that I couldn’t resist asking Alex about his thoughts on a particularly popular belief. Is it really impossible to make the perfect croissant in Hong Kong due to the city’s nefarious humidity.

“It’s not impossible to create the perfect croissant in Hong Kong,” Alex ventured. “However, it might be challenging to keep it perfect. In Europe, the air is more dry. You can keep croissants for 6-7 hours after it’s made and it will still be crispy. In Hong Kong, after 2-3 hours, it might get soggy.”

Croissants should be fresh, buttery, flaky and perfectly layered. Save more on these and other bakes goodies by Alex Talpaert at Maison Eric Kayser, on your ENTERTAINER app.

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James Gannaban
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