how have i never heard of this guy?

i live! for chocolate! and certainly have heard the phrase ‘death by chocolate.’ but this is the first i’ve heard about who was responsible — ironically, after his death.

death by chocolate.


Well, that was unexpected - never knew that either! Good story about him…also didn’t know it took days to create!

And here’s the amazing looking recipe (which I first thought your link went to), for thems that want to make it. Gift link, natch :kissing_heart:

What a way to go! :smiley:


Many years ago I spent a few days in Williamburg. The Governors Torte at the Williamsburg Inn was remarkable (and very chocolate) but I did have to have dinner one night at Trellis for the Death by Chocolate. I think I went to Williamsburg for the history, but the food–especially the desserts–were truly noteworthy.


I remember him from many years back with a food show on early cable tv. Plus his cookbooks were always on the shelf at bookstores. He was a very upbeat happy spokesperson on camera trying to demystify the joy of chocolate baking to layman. The article really captured his zeal. RIP.

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You weren’t a foodie in the 80’s? I do have one of his books and certainly looked up to him early in my career but don’t think I’d heard he passed, so thanks for sharing.

I don’t think I was a foodie back then. But my love of chocolate is apparently a strong family trait on both mom and dad’s sides. :chocolate_bar: :fondue:


What a sweet tribute!

Wish there had been a picture of the 10” slice (the one pictured with him doesn’t seem quite that high), but I’m glad they described the components and the multi-day process. Maybe I’ll see if my library has the book with the recipe, just for a reading kick.

I’m sure he inspired many towering chocolate cakes to come, from Ruby Foo’s gigantic and delicious slice that’s long gone to the one at Claude today — and all the others before, after, and in-between!

Very nice appreciation, thanks for posting!

My father got his cookbook when it first came out. I think his recipes were way more complicated than the Maida Heatter recipes Dad was used to making, so I don’t think the book got much use.

Always so appreciative of y’all who provide the guest links!


I have many chocolate-centric books gifted to me over the years. I must admit, several I have looked at and thought, “I’m so glad there are professionals willing to make these for the public.”


So weird that the NYT link is to a recipe of the same name, but not the actual cake recipe developed by Marcel Desaulniers.

I think this is the original recipe:

And here he is making a different chocolate dessert:


The article doesn’t link the recipe though it describes it, and the recipe linked doesn’t say it’s his — it says “ Try a Trifle Called Death by Chocolate”. Still, a bit sloppy.

Thanks for finding the link for the actual cake recipe!

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thanks for tracking down the original. i knew it was complex, but six components!?

fun to read, but given the incredible effort involved of actually making it, i kind of get why the times linked to its own version, which is far more accessible.


I didn’t take a very close look when the recipe hit my inbox, so I just assumed it was connected to the article.

Thank you for sharing the proper recipe — not that I’ll ever make it :smiley:

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Cool article. I’m not even a big chocolate fan, and I can appreciate his passion for it. I would give that recipe a try (just a bite). Anything that requires that much work has to be a labor of love.