LAKE FOREST, Calif. Apr. 2013 — Ironically, for a guy committed to fitness, Chef Eddy Rocq’s most successful creation so far is his macaron. At 25 flavors and counting, he bakes sheets and sheets of the exquisite confection in a commercial kitchen not far from his eponymous restaurant Rocq Café in Lake Forest. Flavors run from lemon and peach mango to caramel fleur de sel and red velvet bourbon vanilla.
“Even though I enjoy everything (café, catering, baking), I prefer the macarons. Even after making thousands, I learn something new every day. Making them is an art that takes patience and lots of practice, but it’s never boring and a different challenge every time I make them. They are very unpredictable,” says Chef Rocq.
Taste one and discover celestial perfection every time (even in flavors you might not normally choose such as lavender, cassis or rose). As he notes, “When customers bite into one of my macarons you can tell they are in heaven, it’s priceless.”
Chef Rocq was the first to make heart-shaped macarons for Valentine’s Day and has designed shamrocks and egg shapes for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.
“I always try to come up with ideas that no one else is doing. I knew the macarons were going to become trendy and that there were already other established French macaron companies out there. I knew I had to be different. I started thinking of major holidays that people spend money on.”
His goal is nothing less than expanding his distribution to every major high end grocery store, boutique and patisserie in the U.S.
Something of an over-achiever from early on, Rocq earned the highest score from every culinary school in his native France, based on both written and hands-on exams. Le Toque Blanches, a chefs association based in France, sponsors a top student to study internationally, either in the United States or Japan. Rocq was granted this sponsorship and chose the U.S., specifically the Meridian Hotel (now the Fairmont) in Newport Beach. He then returned to France for further study with a master pastry chef. His resumé includes positions with Le Relais Saint Michel, Hotel de Crillon and Meridien Place de la Concorde among others in France and then after his return to California: Hotel L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills, Tradition by Pascal, Aubergine, and Pinot Provence in Orange County.
Accustomed to long hours, the ambitious chef decided next to strike out on his own, starting with his catering company. Later he added the macarons and opened his café.
Inexpensive rent drew Rocq to Lake Forest. “We wanted a place to share our cooking and expand the catering business as well. We found Lake Forest to be the perfect place — friendly neighbors, not a lot of family owned- restaurants. We have been very welcomed by the community and are pleased to be here,” he explained.
While his food cannot be labeled healthy, Rocq keeps the portions rightly-sized so guests do not overeat and can save room for one of his desserts or a macaron. His menu features salads and paninis and his dressings and sauces are made fresh in house. “My goal in cooking is balance in flavor, moderate portion size and to be light on the stomach. Yes, I use butter and cream but with moderation,” he comments.
Well-received cooking classes are hands-on or demo, costing $55 to $65. Rocq has taught everything from appetizers to desserts. Veal blanquette, braised short ribs, beef bourgignon, salmon papillote, moules marineire (mussels in white wine), and pasta made from scratch are a few recipes he covered recently. He’s also instructed pastry classes that included the perennially popular tiramisu and creme brulee. He hopes to get his own cooking show someday to “teach others and share what I know.”
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