After two decades spent making desserts in other chefs’ kitchens, pastry chef Yves Scherrer has finally opened his own. Madame & Yves is a pretty pastry and ice-cream haven that’s all white-tiled walls and touches of pastel pink, in what was formerly Clovelly Road’s Sweet Kiss Cake Shop for 30 years.
It all started when Scherrer’s car broke down and his relationship ended. Well, sort of.
It began a few years before that, when the then-16-year-old French native began training under one of France’s most respected pastry chefs. He ended up in Luxembourg, then dropped everything (due to said breakdown and break-up) and moved to Ireland, then Canada, then Missouri in the US. There, he found himself at the Saint Louis Club in Saint Louis, in charge of viennoiserie (baked goods made from a yeast-leavened dough) and croissants at one of America’s most exclusive private diners, frequented by current and former US presidents including Barack Obama. (Its head chef, who Yves worked alongside, was head chef at the White House during the terms of George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton.)
It’s also where he met his wife Jennifer, aka Madame.
In the 10 years since, he’s spent time in some of Australia’s best kitchens: Melbourne’s Kisume; Sydney’s Sake, where he created his dragon-egg dessert; and fine diner Est, where, under chef Peter Doyle, his gluten-free orange and chocolate cake was born. At Ananas Bar & Brasserie his salted-caramel eclairs came out of the oven for the first time. He also found time to lecture at Le Cordon Bleu, work as a pastry consultant for businesses around the world, and lead the award-winning Australian team at the World Pastry Cup.
For Scherrer, there was never any question he’d eventually open his own shop and leave the days of working for others behind him. “For a pastry chef it’s limited,” he says. “The limelight is on the chefs. They often think they know everything and want to control the pastry side of things, but it’s very different to their cooking. There’s always a bit of frustration.”
The opportunity and timing to move into an existing, well-fitted dessert kitchen was too perfect. The fact that it was in Clovelly was an extra bonus. “Clovelly is a neutral zone,” Scherrer says. “I’m not stepping into my friends’ territory.” (By friends he also means pastry chefs with their own businesses in other parts of Sydney.)
At Madame & Yves you’ll find a lot of things he’s done before, including his signature creations (including the dessert egg), and “a lot of eclairs,” he tells us. “Maybe five or six; we’ll see.” There are lemon tarts, gluten-free chocolate cakes, croissants – including a raspberry-almond version that has a surprising, subtle tartness from the berries – and a take on the croque monsieur, made using croissant instead of bread.
There are also travel cakes, plain cakes and brioche – all presented in perfect lines behind a glass counter that’ll draw you in the second you enter. You’ll also be able to choose from a selection of house-made ice-creams. According to Scherrer, Madame & Yves is the only place in Clovelly doing it.
There are savoury options, too, including “proper” quiche Lorraines. “[They’re] made the right way, with just custard, bacon and cheese – nothing else,” Scherrer says. And bread: French-style baguettes, a few loaves and some sourdough.
The menu will be seasonal, depending on what Yves finds at local markets. Summer will see lots of fruit; winter will see nuts a-plenty. The staple menu items will stick around, but he’ll also introduce pastry and ice-cream specials.
You can sit inside or outside at one of a few small white, round tables, or grab-and-go on your way to or from the beach. It’s partnered with Green Caffeen, which allows you to take away your coffee in a reusable cup that you can return next time you pop in for a coffee. And pastry (obviously).
Madame & Yves
343–345 Clovelly Road, Clovelly
Fri & Sat 7am–9pm
Sun to Thu 7am–5pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on December 18, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.