French Master Baker Eric Kayser wants to know when was the last time you really listened to your bread? Have you paused to hear the music of a baguette crunching as your eager hands ripped it apart? Did you ponder the airy holes within? Did you whiff the fragrant aroma before you took that first bite? With a lesser bread, you would surely be disappointed by the feeble crunch, subpar scent, and concrete interior but a visit to Maison Kayser will remind you how special bread made with love, precision, and quality ingredients can be.
A fourth generation French baker, Eric Kayser was raised in the kitchen and learned to count by preparing eggs and measuring sugar. He dreamed of opening his own bakery and sharing his passion for fine bread with people around the world. In 1996 he opened his flagship bakery in Paris on Rue Monge and he now has 20 locations in France and more than 80 locations scattered throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Finally, Maison Kayser has opened their first American location in New York City on 74th Street and Third Avenue and it is already a favorite destination for locals and tourists who want to partake of Kayser's exquisite baked goods. The NYC location is helmed by Yann Ledouz (Executive Master Baker) and Stéphane Jimenez (Executive Pastry Chef) - both were trained by Kayser and follow his techniques to perfection.
Eric Kayser's exuberance and passion for the art of baking is contagious. When Monsieur Kayser, in his charmingly accented English, asks you to sniff a croissant you do it without hesitation. "Do you smell the butter?", he asked me with a boyish smile. He then proceeded to dissect the croissant and I am captivated as the crumbs cascade and give way to thin layers of soft and buttery dough. After sampling an array of Kayser's croissants, cookies, and savory loaves, I am officially a member of his fan club and completely understand why his name is often preceded by the words "world's best breadmaker." No carbs were counted - I savored every bite.
Maison Kayser is located at 1294 Third Avenue (between 74th and 75th Streets). Go, you'll love it - grab something sweet or savory to go or sit down for a meal! My faves so far include the croissants (plain and almond), the baguettes, fig bread, cheese bread, raisin & walnut bread, and the chocolate chip cookies. I can't wait to explore more of the menu.