As Fauchon's Executive Pastry Chef in the United States, Florian Bellanger heads a team of fourteen pastry chefs to create the finest pastries, special occasion cakes, cookies, unique ice creams and sorbets for the legendary French epicurean emporium's cafe and flagship store in New York City. He has come full circle after serving Fauchon as second in command in Paris and other cities from 1991 to 1996.
"The most important thing for me is to keep the Fauchon tradition of quality, innovation and service," Florian says. "We are constantly playing with tradition, combining old and modern pastry-making methods to create interesting new desserts." Florian's innovations are evident in such tradition-shattering creations as éclairs flavored with orange zest, passion fruit or coconut; raspberry marshmallow cake; Toulouse violet ice cream and raspberry-chili pepper sorbet; and lavish three-dimensional holiday cakes and wedding cakes for which he continuously creates new molds and recipes.
A veteran of pastry kitchens from around the world, Florian was the pastry chef of Le Bernardin in 1996, where his desserts, described as "light and dreamy" by Ruth Reichl of The New York Times, helped bring the restaurant to its four-star status. In addition, he was the pastry chef in the French Military Officer's Club in French Guyana.
Growing up in Paris, Florian knew from an early age that his career would take a culinary path. Not only did he indulge in decadent cakes and pastries as a child, but he often spent his free afternoons in the kitchen, baking them for his family. While a childhood allergy to chocolate did ironically prevent him from relishing such treats for nearly six years, he fortuitously outgrew it and dedicated himself to the art of pastries even more passionately. At the age of fifteen, Florian applied to Paris's prestigious pastry school, L'Ecole de Paris des Métiers de la Table. Although his application was rejected because he was a year too young to enroll, in 1983 the future chef was accepted and graduated with an emphasis in pastry and a specialty in chocolate and ice cream.
Boldly inventive Florian was named one of the "10 Best Pastry Chefs in America" in 2004 and 2003 by Pastry Art & Design magazine. In 2002 and 2001, the James Beard Foundation recognized Florian's accomplishments with a nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef. He and his collection of innovative cakes and pastries have been featured on Epicurious TV, CNNfn and Martha Stewart Living Television; as well as in numerous publications, including: House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Weddings, Forbes, Bride's, Modern Bride, The New York Times, InStyle, Pastry Art & Design, Food Arts, Chocolatier, PastryScoop.com, Delta Sky and New York Magazine.
Florian is a member of City Harvest's Food Council and a guest chef faculty member at the French Culinary Institute. He also donates his time to charities such as the Anthony Spinazzola Foundation and the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation.