Where to Find New York’s Most Artful Desserts
At David Zaquine’s New York patisserie, Sweet Rehab, decadent ingredients like Tahitian vanilla, French honey, and Moroccan oranges are meticulously sculpted into heavenly desserts as beautiful as they are flavorful.
“The inspiration for my desserts comes from my French and Moroccan culture,” says Zaquine, who opened the jewel box this past November. Designed by Leroy Street Studio and Rued’ Arch, it is filled with vintage decor imported from Paris. “I like to use Middle Eastern ingredients in some dishes because they remind me of my childhood and baking with my family. My biggest inspiration is my mom, who taught me the art of pastry making and introduced me to ingredients that are native to our culture and that our family had been using for many years.”
Zaquine learned the delicate art of dessert making under the tutelage of some of the world’s most renowned talents, like chocolatier Jacques Genin and master pastry chef Christophe Michalak, at esteemed establishments such as the Plaza Athénée, Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, and Bagatelle. This training taught him how to create picturesque puffs and colorful tarts with seasonal components, including the Saint-Honoré Rose Framboise, piled with fresh raspberries, or a luxurious Le Miel, a pistachio biscuit with honey cream, pistachios, and orange blossom.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned having worked alongside incredible chefs over the last 15 years has been delicacy and finesse,” says Zaquine. “I’ve also learned the importance of using only the freshest ingredients and working within the different seasons. When opening Sweet Rehab, I knew the menu had to be filled with sustainable and locally grown produce. Our menu is seasonal, and we take into account when the ingredients are in season. For instance, we will add things like strawberry tarts to menu in the spring and summer.”
Zaquine then takes those ingredients and sculpts them into remarkable works of edible art. “My inspiration mostly comes from fashion,” says the chef, whose parents are a chocolaterie owner and fashion designer. “I like to play with different shapes when it comes to presentation; that’s where my creativity really comes out.”
Sweet Rehab is located at 135 Sullivan Street, New York City.