The Visually Stimulating Pastries of Pastry Chef Eunji Lee
As a food designer, I firmly believe people “eat with their eyes.” The more appealing the colors, the textures, the display… the more fulfilling every bite tastes. When food is presented beautifully, it can trigger our appetites and stimulate our taste buds, making the dish more appetizing and desirable. As humans, we are highly visual creatures, and we often judge a dish based on its appearance before even taking a bite.
Lysée Bakery, located in New York’s Flatiron District, is a charming and unique bakery that has gained a reputation for its high-quality and visually stimulating pastries. Founded by pastry chef Eunji Lee and chef and husband Matthieu Lobry, Lysée Bakery is known for its delicate and delicious baked goods that are made with the finest ingredients and an incredible attention to detail.
“I wanted to have a space that corresponds to my identity and my dessert style: Korean-French-New Yorker,” says Lee, who spent ten years training and working in Paris, notably under Alain Ducasse and Cedric Grolet at Le Meurice, before becoming the executive pastry chef at the two Michelin-starred Korean restaurant Jungsik in Tribeca.
The name Lysée (lee-zay) is derived from the French word “Musee” which means “museum,” the perfect name to encapsulate the gallery-like take on the meticulously crafted pastry art on display.
The seasonally rotating menu is playful yet executed with highly technical style. From their signature mousse cake made with Korean toasted brown rice mousse with caramel, to the corn mousse dessert that went viral on social media, whose corn sablé is topped with an airy corn crémeux piped over with a grilled corn cream to resemble the vegetable in its entirety.
“To me, pastry is an edible art.” says Chef Eunji Lee.
And thus, when entering the sparse and refined boutique space itself, you feel like you’ve walked into an art gallery in Chelsea. Reflecting similar attention to detail and cultural influences that Lee brings to Lysée’s menu, the decor is a beautiful harmony of both traditional Korean culture and modern NYC design.
“I wanted to create a culturally meaningful space that is also well-balanced and harmonious. We have traditional Korean materials, like a mother-of-pearl wall, a Korean wood pillar from an ancient traditional mansion in Korea, and used traditional [granite] stone [from Pocheon in Korea] for the bottom of a table. The design highlights the pastry as edible art, as the hero of the stage. Using this very understated, minimalistic design puts the emphasis on our pastries as the main objects.”
There is no question, Lee’s dessert “gallery,” where her edible art is on full display is a delight for the eyes and taste buds.
And to make it sweeter… Lysée just announced their first pop-up collaboration with chef Roy Shvartzapel. On March 11 and 12th only, the bakery will offer an exclusive, unique panettone menu for dine-in and take-out. Reservations are available through Resy, and pre-orders will start at 10am on Saturday Feb 25th. Set your alarms!
Lysée bakery is located at 44 E 21st Street, New York, NY 10010.