Maurice Delechelle is hardly the best known chef in New Orleans. Yet his pastries have delighted thousands of diners since he came to New Orleans in 1972 and inspired dozens of chefs from around the world to take the meal’s sweet course more seriously. A practitioner of the French art of pâtisserie, Delechelle has taught his skills to many new generations of bakers.
Delechelle grew up in a farming family in the Loire Valley. His father died when he was very young, forcing the family to give up the farm and seek a livelihood in the food business.
Delechelle’s three-year apprenticeship, from age fourteen to seventeen, took place in the city of Tours. He spent years on the Riviera, in Paris, and in the Atlantic resort of Biarritz before being lured to the New World. He spent a season on British Antigua and five years on French Guadaloupe, then headed for New Orleans.
For most of this work history, Delechelle’s specialty was pastry- an interest sparked by a neighborhood baker and also by his own sweet tooth. In New Orleans, he applied his skills first at the elegant Plimsoll Club, then moved to Cincinnati as executive chef at the Pierre, before returning to New Orleans for good.
Finding his spiritual home, not surprisingly, in the village-like French Quarter, Delechelle over the years successfully launched not one but two pâtisseries. The first, La Marquise in 1972, the second Croissant d’Or in 1983. Together they were dedicated to producing one of the highest forms of cooking art.
Like all the best pâtissiers, Delechelle used only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients. Of course, he is a master of technique as well. French pasty is a demanding art. Only a true zealot can make it a lifelong pursuit. In Delechelle’s case, every exquisite bite of his pastries proves his zeal was not misplaced. Now retired and living above Croissant d’Or, Delechelle continues to share his skills and his passion for pastry: only the best.