Culinary Power Couple Leads ‘A Hamptons Happening’

(This article first appeared in the July 6, 2016 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


The twelfth annual “A Hamptons Happening” will take place Saturday at the home of Maria and Kenneth Fishel in Bridgehampton. This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Center. Honorees include American television chef and author Sandra Lee, founder and owner of Surf Lodge Montauk Jayma Cardoso and CEO of Lafayette 148 New York Deirdre Quinn. In addition, the event will honor lead chef couple Fernanda Capobianco and François Payard.


Brazilian native, Fernanda Capobianco previously managed and owned The Payard Restaurant and Pastry shops in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before developing all-natural, organic recipes with the freshest ingredients for her own desserts and sandwiches. Having lost her dad to diabetes at a young age, she understood the American health crisis. Upon her move to New York in 2009 she became a board member of the New York Coalition of Healthy School Foods.


Capobianco affirmed that “Vegan or not, everyone will opt for healthier options in the near future,” as she founded the Vegan Divas baked goods and dessert brand in 2012. Her products are currently sold throughout the U.S. with a flagship location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In addition to her successful health conscious products, Capobianco launched her book The Vegan Divas Cookbook in 2014 and has monthly columns in Isweet Magazine and Organic Spa Magazine.


Her husband, François Payard is a third generation pastry chef from France who moved to New York in 1990 upon taking his first position at the three Michelin starred restaurant Le Bernardin. Years later, in 2009, the François Chocolate Bar opened in New York City. It has been described as “a chocolate jewelry shop.” In 2010 the causal bakery, FPB (François Payard Bakery), opened on West Houston Street in downtown New York City.


The year of 2012 proved to be a very successful year for Payard with two additional openings of FPB, a patisserie at the Plaza Hotel in the Todd English Food Hall and his first flagship store on the Upper East Side. In addition to his culinary success, Payard is the author of popular cookbooks Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts, Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone, Payard Desserts, and Payard Cookies.


This year at “A Hamptons Happening” guests can expect a sweet surprise from Payard. He’ll be sharing his Parisian macarons and limited edition chocolate collection, which is 70% Dark Chocolate called “Gran Cru” from the company Valrhona, located in the small French village of Tain L’Hermitage.


When he comes out to the East End, Payard goes straight to the market stands to gather vegetables and fruit, quality that far surpasses that of any grocery store in the city. And, of course, he likes to pick up some wine from the local vineyards. “I really love a deep red wine with dinner or a white wine to go with a summer fish.”


As a culinary power couple there are bound to be some differences between Fernanda and Francois, especially with such individual cooking styles. Payard explains, “We like to eat healthy — regardless of the occasion! Fernanda’s vegan and not a sweet eater. I’ll whip up some fresh grilled vegetables and she’s happy.”


As for the outlook of the culinary arts for the upcoming years, Payard predicts more locavore and farm to table cooking. “A move towards a healthier lifestyle where we create great flavor combinations without compromising the freshness of the ingredients. Simplicity is key.”

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