Christophe Devoille’s pâtisserie epitomizes the Wynn Palace ethos. At Sweets, precision, art, and delightful surprise rule the day.
Searching for Sweets? It’s easily located by its delicious aroma, or by sight: The giant mosaic confections that line its walls can be seen from quite a distance.
It isn't difficult to find sweets, the pâtisserie tucked into one corner of Wynn Palace. Just follow the heady smell of toasting waffle cones that wafts down the walkway. The man responsible, pastry czar Christophe Devoille, sits in the café dressed in crisp chef’s whites. Burly and shaven-headed, he has a shy smile, but he’s palpably proud of his new candy kingdom. the standout is the cabinet bursting with bite-size, pastel-colored morsels.
“Oh, here, they love how we have rethought the macaron.” Devoille lingers on the word; even after spending much of his cooking career trekking the world, he retains a strong French accent. Fittingly, since the chef intends to bring a special touch to the bakery here: Those macarons are his pièce de résistance. “You need skill, practice, and good equipment to make a classic macaron,” he says, noting the precise ratio between filling and shell. For the perfect cookie, the filling should weigh half as much as the meringue.
But Devoille wasn’t satisfied with a classic approach; rather, he was determined to customize the recipe especially for Wynn Palace. In too many pâtisseries, he noticed, the filling was jam-like and far too sweet. After dozens of tastings and adjustments, he workshopped a solution: removing up to a third of the sugar. The resulting macarons emphasize freshness and acidity, and use fruit shipped in fresh from Japan, Korea, and even the greenmarkets of Paris. Now, there are 16 custom flavors on offer every day, from yuzu to coconut, vanilla to red bean and chestnut.
Such painstaking perfectionism is what brought Devoille to the attention of Steve Wynn. For Wynn, this cake shop is a passion project, its wall mosaics inspired by the American artist Wayne Thiebaud’s mouthwatering paintings of colorful treats, particularly 1964’s Four Ice Cream Cones. The longtime art collector tasked his pastry chef with creating “edible Pop art,” and Devoille didn’t disappoint.
Chef Devoille at work on the best kind of assembly line.
It’s no surprise, given his cooking pedigree. Devoille’s career began in the kitchen at home in Strasbourg, the German-inflected city on France’s eastern reaches. “Like any kid in France, I made lots of cakes with my mother,” he says. After pastry school and a stint working at a French restaurant in Manhattan to polish his English, Devoille joined the team of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse. He spent more than a decade at Ducasse’s side, eventually rising to become head of his entire dessert team. In that role, Devoille traveled around the world supervising sweets at the chef’s many venues, from Las Vegas to Tokyo. “Alain Ducasse taught me to respect the product, and to be uncompromising: If something is supposed to be eight inches by two inches, it isn’t 2.2—it’s perfectly cut,” he says. Devoille credits Ducasse with shaping his tastes, too, and teaching him how to compose a dessert à l’assiette, or dessert plate. Contrast is crucial, he explains, bringing creamy, soft, crunchy, and iced textures together in a single serving.
In the pastry chef’s new role with Wynn Palace, he’s able to indulge that expertise via a wide variety of desserts. Five distinct stations make up Sweets: Alongside those macarons, there’s a sorbet and ice cream selection of almost 20 flavors, plus a case filled with an abundance of classic French pastries. There’s also a showcase for homemade chocolates and truffles. “Three people were hired just to take care of the chocolate. Everything is homemade, even the praline,” Devoille reveals. Most shops buy their nut paste ready-mixed, he adds, but his artisan alternative has more texture and crunch. It’s a typical touch for the detail-obsessed dessert maestro.
As for the final station, which serves crêpes and waffles, it’s here that the pâtissier truly indulged his inner Willy Wonka. Every single griddle iron at Sweets was custom-cast for him, with a unique tweak: At the center of each is the Wynn Palace logo, like a tasty tattoo. It’s a testament to Devoille’s devotion to his new job. “That was my first dream,” he says, “to be an amazing pastry chef at a hotel, or a palace.”