6 oz of pitted dates
1 tsp of baking soda
1.25 cups of boiling water
1 tsp of soy sauce (optional)

2 oz of butter ( ½ stick of butter)
2 Tbsp of Ovaltine (optional)
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp of dark brown sugar
⅛ tsp of white pepper (optional)
⅛ tsp of dried ginger
⅛ tsp of cinnamon
pinch of cloves

2 room temperature eggs, beaten

1.25 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp of baking powder

Toffee Sauce Ingredients
4 oz of butter (1 stick)
¾ cup of dark brown sugar
½ cup of heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the dates, baking soda, and soy sauce in the boiling water and let soak until the dates soften. (I usually let mine sit overnight in the fridge)
Puree the dates in a blender or food processor when the dates become soft.
Mix the Ovaltine, white pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves into the granulated sugar until uniform.
Beat the butter with the sugar-spice mixture and brown sugar until it lightens in color (about 4-5 minutes on medium high speed)
While the creaming the butter with the sugar, mix the baking powder and AP flour together until fully mixed.
Slow down the mixer to medium low and add the beaten eggs slowly making sure that the mixture becomes as uniform as possible.
With the mixer on medium low speed, slowly add the flour-baking powder mixture in a couple of additions and mix until uniform.
Fold the date puree into the batter in three additions.
Pour the batter into a buttered oven-proof dish ( I use a Pyrex bowl that is 8 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep)
Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Poke the middle of a cake with a skewer to test for doneness. If it does not come out clean, bake the cake longer.
When the cake has cooled enough, cover the cake with foil or plastic wrap to make sure that moisture does not escape.

Toffee Sauce Method
Heat the butter and brown sugar on low heat until the butter melts.
When the butter has melted, add the cream and bring to a simmer.
Let the toffee sauce simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Take the sauce off the heat and serve over the cake with whipping cream, creme fraiche, or vanilla ice cream


The soy sauce is optional. (I can’t help it--I’m Chinese and I love soy sauce.) The white pepper and Ovaltine are also optional. I just like to amp up the flavor a little bit. Feel free to experiment with the spice mixture. 

The cake tastes best if left covered overnight so that the cake becomes more moist. To serve, I cut a piece from the cake and microwave it for 30 seconds. I usually serve with toffee sauce and heavy cream on the side, so people can choose how much sauce and cream they want to pour on top.

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Ah, love is in the air…not just because it is February, but also because some of our favorite people at Le Bon Garçon will celebrate their birthdays this month. (hint, hint look for a special promo code coming soon to honor this.) We thought this was a fitting time to reflect with Justin Chao, Le Bon Garçon’s master chef. Justin went to culinary school in Paris at Bellouet Conseil and then practiced his culinary craft at Le Meurice.

Here is what a lover of food, life and sweet indulgent desserts learned about love in France.

10. It is always Time for Romance! Romance is art and nature and taking time to enjoy the little things. One trip to the Musée de la Vie Romantique (Yes, that translates to MUSEUM OF ROMANTICS) in Paris is all you need to set your clock to Amour. 

9. Those that Prepare Meals Together Stay Together. Even if you can’t shop in a charming open market like Marché des Enfants Rouge, shopping with the one you love as you prep for a meal you will later share is incredibly romantic. 

8. Take Me Church. In many ways, love is like connecting to a higher power. Maybe that is why visiting a magnificent church like La Madeleine, a cathedral built to look like a Greek Temple, brings the spirit of love to you. Attending a wedding at a church? Even better.  

7. Get Fruity! There is no such thing as being a tart that is too fruity when it comes to inspiring playful love. Gerard Mulot’s fruit tarts in Paris will convince you of this--if you are unsure.

6. Get Down and Dirty! Some of the most romantic “in-the-moment times” happen after discovering a quaint, little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Sharing a pizza made for two in a place like Pizza Momo on Rue de Rivoli is what it is all about. We could go there every day and it would never get old.

5. Be Mysterious. Role play. Try something new. Pretend to be a secret spy as you sip tea and people-watch in a tucked-away place like la Mosquée de Paris. 

4. Take A Day Trip. Go somewhere you have never been and experience it through the eyes of your lover or someone you love. Did you know you could visit the gardens that inspired many of Monet’s painting? See Giverny, just a daytrip from Paris. 

3. Put a “Le” in it. Pick your favorite most romantic things to say and learn how to say them in French. For practice, find the best French restaurant in your town, and ask the waiter to help you with your French. Hint: if it has “Le” in the title is it probably going to be romantic as well. Our inspiration- Le Petit Marché in the Marais

2. Use Something Sweet To Get You in the Mood. Second only to our love for caramel, is chocolate: not just any chocolate, but Jean Charles Rochoux’s chocolates. This tiny chocolate shop tucked away in St. Germain, makes the sexiest and smoothest ganache on the planet. 

1. Play and Flirt with Your Food. Food is about sensory experience. Feed someone, and alternate between small and big, sweet and savory bites. Blindfolded? Even better. We take our cue from Christophe Michalak, the executive pastry chef from Plaza Athénée who also happens to be deliciously handsome. 

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Source: and

The unsinkable Debbie Reynolds.     

Le Bon Garcon goes to Hollywood

I was thrilled when I heard that Le Bon Garcon salted buttermilk caramels would be included in the 2015 Official SAG Awards Gala gift bag. When I found out that Debbie Reynolds would be honored at the awards show on January 25 with a SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, I was even more excited.  

I’ve admired Debbie Reynolds ever since I first saw Singin’ in the Rain when I was a teenager. Who can forget that scene where she jumps out of the cake to Gene Kelly's surprise?  Through the years, I have followed Debbie Reynolds career and have grown to admire her even more as I've learned about her career and her personal struggles. 

Even after three divorces and near financial ruin, Debbie Reynolds has always retained her unsinkable spirit and buoyant sense of humor.  Ms. Reynolds’ unique brand of determination and unique talent have allowed her flourish in the notoriously competitive entertainment industry. Debbie Reynolds is truly a force to be reckoned with and is the living definition of Unsinkable Gold.


What is Unsinkable Gold?

Unsinkable Gold celebrates the individuals who have been able to stand the test of time to truly become iconic. Despite the many challenges that life brings, these individuals continue to shine and never lose what makes them unique.

Are there moments where you just need to let loose and be your unsinkable self no matter what?  Share your #unsinkablegold moments on Twitter and Instagram.


Unsinkable Gold Promotion

In honor of Debbie Reynolds, Le Bon Garcon will be offering our Unsinkable Gold Promotion. Order from our website using promo code, UNSINKABLEGOLD, and get 15% off on your caramel purchase this month. Offer expires February 1, 2015.

PROMO CODE: UNSINKABLEGOLD (expires 2/1/2015.)


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We will be closed for repairs on June 6.  I apologize in advance for any inconvenience.
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By Justin Chao

Many famous chefs, such as Heston Blumenthal from the Fat Duck, never went to culinary school and have found great success in the restaurant industry. In fact, I’ve heard many people say that going to culinary school is a waste of money. In my experience, however, culinary school was very useful and has helped me to become a better pastry chef.


Although going to culinary school worked out well for me, some of my classmates from culinary school did not end up becoming chefs. Many of them did not like the long hours, the stress, and the physical demands of working in a kitchen. In addition, the pay for working in a kitchen can be low when first starting out.


If you have the time and money, I think that culinary school can give you a big head start in learning technique as well as finding a job. However, I advise people to try to find an internship or a job in a kitchen before going to culinary school. By getting some work experience before culinary school, you can see if you like working in a kitchen before you invest a large amount of time and money.


In addition, I noticed that those who had professional experience got more out of culinary school. They were able to concentrate on learning the fine techniques—while I was concentrating on learning the basics.


One of the advantages of going to culinary school is that you get to dedicate a large chunk of time to learning the craft in stress-free environment. In addition, many culinary schools also will set you up with internships at prestigious restaurants. This can be a large advantage when looking for your first job. The disadvantage of culinary school is the large investment of time and money. Many people leave culinary school with a large amount of debt.  


What do you culinary school graduates think? Was culinary school a worthwhile investment?


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 By Justin Chao

I learned a lot in culinary school in Paris, but the bulk of my culinary training began when I left the safety of Bellouet Conseil (my culinary school) and started working at Le Meurice


I won’t lie: working in a French kitchen was difficult.  The first day I walked in to the kitchen, I was absolutely clueless.    I made all the rookie mistakes like using my apron as a napkin.  I even spilled a whole pail of pastry glaze on the floor.  I’m pretty sure I looked like a fool, mostly because my co-workers didn’t hesitate to let me know.  While my French was good enough to get around Paris, it wasn’t good enough to communicate in a fast-paced environment.  I remember being really stressed out and that people were yelling at me.  One guy even slammed a knife down on the counter right by my head. 


Even though it was really long hours and physically intense, I kept going back because I was learning skills that I could not learn anywhere else. From the first day, I was making desserts that were going out to customers who were expecting the world-class quality.  The level of care and skill that went into each dessert was mind-blowing, and I have not seen that level of craftsmanship since I’ve left Paris.  I decided to stick with it and work really hard.  If there was a skill that I could not master at work, I would go home and practice. 


By the end of my internship, I was just as fast as my co-workers.  More importantly, I had gained their respect and friendship.  Having worked at such a highly regarded kitchen, I feel like I can work anywhere and thrive. 


Taking the first step to work in a kitchen is hard.  Luckily for me, it worked out and I continued to have a career in the field.  Looking back, I should have tried working in a kitchen before I moved to Paris and invested a lot of money and time in culinary school.  I guess I was lucky that it worked out.


For anyone who is interested in going to Paris to learn about pastry, I highly recommend Bellouet Conseil.  One of the best parts of going to Bellouet Conseil is that you have a choice of where you would like to work in Paris.  I would also recommend taking advantage of any internship program that your culinary school offers.  Staging (interning) is an intense experience, but the confidence I gained by working in a high-intensity environment is invaluable.


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By Justin Chao

This was an interesting article in the New York Times last week.  The author, Michael Moss, explains why food companies in their quest for increasing their profits and market share are driven to add more salt, sugar, and calories to our food.


Please click on the link below to read the article:

"The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food" by Michael Moss

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