From Easy Bake Ovens to the Great British Bake Off, baking and sweet desserts are a big part of our lives. Even without the knowledge of how to make a puff pastry or whip up a tiered cake, it's easy to appreciate the time, artistry and skill needed to create these stunning and delicious masterpieces.
And masterpieces they are, especially in Amaury Guichon’s case. The term “pastry chef” hardly seems fitting for the level of mastery Guichon brings to his craft. At the age of 16, the young French chef began his journey. Training in Switzerland, he quickly moved through the basics, perfecting even the most complicated pastry techniques in only a matter of years. By 21, Guichon was one of the youngest executive pastry chefs in Paris. After conquering the Parisian pastry scene, Guichon decided to test his skill across the pond. He joined world-famous pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury in the United States, where he now continues his awe-inspiring work at Maury’s Aria Resort & Casino patisserie in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I love working with chocolate because it’s such a unique material,” Guichon said in a video interview with Insider. “You can mold it, you can sculpt it like clay.… It’s almost sensual.”
Chocolate isn’t the only thing sensual about Guichon. His charming good looks have made him an internet sensation. From YouTube videos to Pinterest boards, his fans can’t get enough of his delicious creations—or his dashing smile. His Instagram account is full of fantastic images of pastries, chocolate sculptures and cakes. At the time of writing, he has over half a million followers. No small feat for a pastry chef in his twenties.
Here’s a look at some of his most inspired creations:
1. Chocolate cigars
Guichon’s “choco cigars” are as elegant as they are decadent. The delicate chocolate shells are filled with Baileys Cremeux, milk chocolate mousse and vanilla caramel. A silver powder mixed into the hazelnut streusel imitates the cigar’s ashen tip. Even the paper label is made from sugar—the perfect finishing touch.
2. Chocolate straws
Chocolate straws may not be new, but Guichon’s technique puts a new spin on this classic confection. Starting with a combed swirl pattern, Guichon then fills in the gaps with white chocolate. After cleaning up the edges, the chocolate is ready to be rolled into perfectly formed straws, all in under five minutes. Voilà.
3. Lotus flower topped with a dragonfly
It’s no exaggeration when people call Guichon a “chocolate architect.” His chocolate sculptures are unbelievably detailed. Take his lotus flower topped with a dragonfly as a perfect example. “It’s composed with water, that gives kind of a motion to the showpiece,” Guichon explained. “Then you have little metal pieces that splash it. And on top of that there is life, there is the dragonfly, there is the lotus flower. Everything combined together—it’s a showpiece of life.” And the secret to a showpiece this stunning? “Having it alive … having it in motion.”
4. Vanilla donuts
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill donuts. A delectable combination of sable Breton (shortbread crust), almond cream, Tahitian vanilla ganache, vanilla mousse and metallic glaze, this fabulous donut is almost too pretty to eat.
5. Blueberry cupcake
You won’t find one of these at your local bakery. Vanilla sponge cake, berry compote, cream cheese and a unique domed glaze make this cupcake worthy of even the most discerning palates (and Instagram accounts).
6. The Clock
One of his most Instagrammed creations, this detailed morsel looks more gears than ganache. But as with all Guichon’s pieces, it's completely edible—and gorgeous. Coffee cremeux, coffee financier, coffee mousse, vanilla caramel and a buttery chocolate sable are the ingredients that keep this treat ticking.
7. The Apple Basket
You’ll never look at apple pie the same way again. This chocolate basket is filled with vanilla sponge, vanilla mousse and topped with caramelized apple tarte tatin. A basket is better than a slice any day.
8. The Quail Egg
Not great for a scramble, but perfect for dessert. Coconut, mango compote, key lime cremeux, vanilla, passion fruit—a flavor explosion ready to crack, topped with gold chocolate feathers.
9. Key lime chouquette
You may be tempted to pop the whole thing in your mouth, but you may want to savor these fantastic flavor combinations: mango, key lime and vanilla.
10. Parisian religieuse
When you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients, you know you’re in for a delightful experience: praliné mousseline, hazelnut cremeux, pure praliné paste, milk chocolate, crunchy glaçage and praliné vanilla whipped cream.
“I get my inspiration from nature, design, museum expositions,” Guichon says. And if his work is any indication, this statement holds true.
While he’s still wowing Vegas patrons, Guichon does have plans for the future, including starting his own masterclass on the art of chocolate and pastry. We’ll be watching his career (and Instagram) with great interest.