Where Croissants Reign Supreme

It is a genuine viral sensation with countless fans and copycats around the world. It is meticulously assembled and regularly attracts long lines of people in the heart of Manhattan. It is not a complex piece of technology or high-end haute couture, but rather, a pastry–albeit a very, very good one. This perfectly coiled, cream-filled croissant comes from the ovens of Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery. It is appropriately called The Suprême and long may it reign.

On a rainy fall evening, Chase United Cardmembers were invited to Lafayette’s private event space to learn the secrets of The Suprême directly from its creators: renowned chef Andrew Carmellini, Head Boulanger James Belisle, and Executive Pastry Chef Scott Cioe. Guests would also get to eat the croissant without having to wait in line.

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Chase United

Before the pastry class and tasting, Cardmembers were first treated to a decadent French meal in the dimly lit subterranean space with brick alcoves stacked with wine and wood. Lafayette’s signature dishes were on offer, including endive salad, heirloom tomatoes, tabbouleh, lentils, and roast chicken. Of course, there was no shortage of fine French cheeses and homemade breads. Trays of wine and Champagne circled the room while craft cocktails were served from behind the back-lit bar. This meal was essentially just an appetizer for the culinary focus of the night: The Suprême.

The Cardmembers were familiar with the pastry; many had seen the long lines first-hand and knew of the TikToks, but now they had the opportunity to hear from Carmellini and his pastry pros about how the croissant unexpectedly found world fame. Going viral was never the plan, but the team at Lafayette isn’t complaining.

Carmellini says when he reopened Lafayette’s bakery after Covid, in the spring 2022, he wanted to offer customers something new and unique. They introduced dozens of new items, one of which happened to be a circular croissant filled with cream and topped with edible decorations. And, well, it did just fine for about two months. That’s when one TikToker with a modest number of followers posted about The Suprême and it went viral, racking up millions of views.

Chase United
Chase United

Carmellini, who doesn’t personally use the app, says he first sensed the pastry’s online success was translating to the real world five days after the TikTok was posted. That’s when actress Julianne Moore was spotted waiting in line for The Suprême at the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones.

To keep up with the demand rush, Lafayette bought three new ovens, two new proofers, and hired more employees. To this day, Lafayette sells 800 Suprêmes a day and the lines have not let up.

After learning the croissant’s history, small groups of Cardmembers were invited into the kitchen to see how the famous pastry is made up close. Belisle welcomed guests to his station and began folding cold butter into cold dough and then running it through an industrial sheeter for consistency before rolling everything up and slicing it into cylinders of perfectly delicate layers of pastry. At each step, Cardmembers got to touch the dough to feel its transformation through the process. From there, it was on to the filling station where everyone received two baked Suprêmes and a one-on-one piping lesson. With their pastries filled with chocolate, pistachio, or matcha cream, Cardmembers were then off to the decorating table to learn how to properly zigzag ganache across the top of their pastry. Finally, for added flair and deliciousness, they got to pick their toppings. There was a selection of fruit, nuts, and sprinkles, but many chose to fully embrace the indulgence of the night by opting for rose petals. Why not?

Chase United
Chase United

It seemed as if the two Suprêmes were dessert but, of course, there was more in the form of chocolate cake and cheesecake. Because if anything pairs well with croissants, it’s cake.

At the end of the night, guests were given a curated gift bag with candies and a cookbook signed by Carmellini. There was also a dough cutter and apron for anyone brave enough to try making a Suprême at home with their newfound knowledge. Of course, if that doesn’t go as planned, they can always get a professionally made one at Lafayette, but next time they’ll have to wait in line.

To learn more about the one-of-a-kind experiences offered to United MileagePlus® Cardmembers like this one, interested parties can visit unitedcardevents.com.

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