For those who are unfamiliar with the history of the Rocks, it is an area which has been enriched with Australian history— from centuries old pavements to antique styled boutiques and once walked upon by the the first European settlers and their convicts.
It was the perfect place for a French Patisserie café and restaurant, La Renaissance, which has forged a reputation for their impeccable desserts and French pastries since 1971. And, last Tuesday on the 13th it had it’s celebratory launch event as the first patisserie in the southern hemisphere to be officially awarded the Relais Desserts which serve as an quivalent to the Michelin star—a prestigious award which is renowned for its rigorous selection process.
Excited to be part of this phenomenal event, my friend, Jenny and I were greeted by long tables of cheese and crackers, and waiters with small savoury tartlets, pastries and different types of liquor; white wine, champagne and beer.
Family, friends and fans of the cafe mingled and walked around the courtyard wearing blacks, navvies, suits and striped shirts along with other various takes on Parisian chic, celebrating the origin of the restaurant’s roots.
The smooth sailing vibe got switched up as the organiser came on to make a special announcement to congratulate French-born pastry chef and co-owner, Jean Michel Raynaud and founder and co-owner, Sally Charko’s for their incredible dedication and hard work in achieving Relais Desserts.
‘After 35 years, Relais Desserts is still at the forefront of French patisserie, it such an honor to be included, “ said Jean Michele. “On a personal level this as high as you can go. I hope this achievement encourages people to follow their dreams and embrace what they’re passionate about’.
Sally Charko founded the restaurant with her husband Pierre Charkos, introducing French Patisserie to Australia in a time when there was nothing else of its kind available and she is thrilled that their accomplishments have been recognised, with the highest of honours.
‘Our mission has always been to showcase this fascinating part of French culture and to pass the baton on to future generations, which we have done through the family business; and over the many years we have trained and worked with our dedicated patissiers’, she said.
And, of course, it couldn’t truly be a Le Renaissance celebration without their famous decadent dessert pastries.
Jean Michel Raynaud added the last few touches to the dessert platters – from passion fruit cheesecakes, to chocolate tart with a salter caramel centre, to lychee mousse with a biscuit base, and so much more. So, what’s our favourite desert of the evening? Answer: Goya cakes: raspberry mousse, lime, and passionfruit cremeux. ‘Nuff said.
– Jenny Hu & Jessica Guttridge
La Renaissance Cafe
47 Argyle St
The Rocks NSW 2000