Daniel Boulud’s second Las Vegas restaurant—DB Brasserie at the Venetian—has become known for creative, sometimes cute, consistently spectacular desserts, and executive pastry chef Robyn Lucas gets the credit. If you haven’t dabbled in DB’s rotating sundae selection (currently a chocolate lover’s dream), perhaps you’ve indulged in the seasonal trio of mini-eclairs; right now the selection includes cookies and cream, pistachio raspberry and Nutella with caramelized banana.
There’s another sweet treasure Lucas serves that has quite the culinary backstory. “Chef [Francois] Payard was the pastry chef when the original Daniel restaurant opened [in 1993], and he comes in when he is in town and he and Daniel have maintained a wonderful friendship,” Lucas explains. “It’s amazing for me to have such a legend around. And when he comes in, he has to have his madeleines.”
Payard loves to sample the light, sweet, cake-ish cookie to make sure it’s still done the same way after all these years, crafted from his original recipe. “It’s just this warm, fluffy little lemon pillow, just a classic,” Lucas says. “You wouldn’t want to mess with something that’s perfect.”
Of course, having worked with Boulud since the restaurant’s opening in spring 2014, Lucas is quite comfortable meeting the precise requirements of a legendary chef. Making magical madeleines is just the beginning. “Everything has to go out flawless,” she says. “I hold myself to very high expectations in addition to maintaining the standards of the Boulud name. It’s been a very humbling and wonderful experience.”
Next up: creating desserts for fall. Lucas is concocting an apple tartlet with caramel poured tableside and something she calls the key lime bomb. If she needs someone to play the role of Payard and make sure the new confections are delicious, we’re happy to volunteer.