By: Pichet Ong, Food Republic
New York pastry chef Pichet Ong grew up in Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. He has toured the world extensively in search of the best things to eat (many of them on the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum). Often, he finds himself in New Orleans, where he’ll spend days combing the city for the latest and greatest in the world of baking and pastry. Here are ten of his favorite places, from the classic to the new-wave.
No place in the country approaches food with quite the celebratory joy as New Orleans. This city that started out as a French colony swapped colonial hands several times along the way, with each transition adding a new fold to its tapestry of culinary traditions. The result is a mix of cuisines quite unlike anywhere else, with French, Caribbean, Spanish, Italian and (more recently) Vietnamese influences vying for space on menus around town.
In between meals here, many a food lover has squeezed in a sugar-dusted beignet and coffee break at the iconic Café du Monde. But the dessert scene here is constantly evolving as well, with plenty of new bakeries and sweets shops opening up alongside the traditional ones. Here is a look at ten of my favorites. Plan it right, and you can hit them all in a day.
Wila Jean is the newest opening from chef John Besh. Featuring baker and pastry chef Lisa and Kelly Fields at the helm, the bakery is another restaurant that serves three meals daily. From the pastry counter, cookies and tarts are standouts, with many irresistable items on the sit-down menu, including salads, classic Southern fare like grits and biscuits, and, of course, desserts. 611 O’Keefe Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113; willajean.com