Chef Abby Swain created an intentional dessert menu for New York's CraftBar in 2011, and took over the kitchen at Craft last summer. Her desserts are both homey and adventurous, and she shared how that's all come about.
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Pastry Chef Ghaya Oliveira is truly a result of the old guard of professional chefs; she worked her way from a dishwasher to the Executive Pastry Chef of Daniel Boulud's acclaimed namesake French restaurant. We caught up on what that took from her, and what's most important with how she composes her stunning desserts.
Tracy Obolsky recently took over the pastry position at New York's North End Grill, dazzling diners with her love for ice cream and her modern take on classic American desserts. We got the scoop (pun intended) on what makes this young chef tick, and how that translates into the restaurant's revised menu.
Chika Tillman of ChikaLicious owns a Dessert Bar and Dessert Club in New York City and teaches chefs internationally how to carry our her "ChikaLicious way" of treating incredibly seasonal ingredients with a light hand and much care. Ten years on she's still running strong, and we caught up with her to hear about her unchanging philosophies, unique space, and the one dessert that changed her life.
Pastry chef Jennifer Yee has a full plated dessert menu in the dining room of Andrew Carmellini's Lafayette, as well as an overflowing cafe bakery. We sat down to discuss how she keeps it all together, where her inspiration comes from, and what she hopes for the future of pastry in New York.
Pastry Chef Megan Ketover was trained at the Midwest Culinary Institute and was a contestant on season two of Top Chef: Just Desserts. We chatted about what makes her most excited about working in her hometown of Cincinnati and how she psyched herself up to represent it on television.
Anne Thornton, the host of Food Network's Dessert First with Anne Thornton, didn't realize food was her calling until later in life. She chose to pursue degrees in finance and philosophy, then landed a job with Apple Computers first. Despite her impressive gig in Chicago, she eventually left it for New York's Institute of Culinary Education, landing a job in culinary production.
Gail Ambrosius seems to have it all figured out. She turned a tough situation (getting laid off after ten years at the same job) into a glorious opportunity by doing what so many of us chocolate geeks long to do: head to Paris and study under the masters. With technique and experience under her belt, she launched Gail Ambrosius Chocolates in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2004 and has since been garnering praise for her wide range of offerings and unusual bonbon flavors—shiitake mushroom truffle, anyone?
Elizabeth Hodes makes some of the most amazing wedding cakes coming out of New York; often times they feature what she refers to as "sugar sculptures," incredibly precise and life-like works of pulled sugar. With no formal training, Hodes thinks of herself more as an artist than a pastry chef.
How did Jeff get into chocolate? He accidentally bought some unfermented, washed cocoa beans at a farmers' market in Belize thinking they were almonds.
From a humble start in a home kitchen, Porto's Cuban Bakery has become a beloved Los Angeles institution. I spoke with Betty Porto about her mother's hard work, what it was like to grow up in the bakery, and what makes Porto's truly special.
Here's the thrilling conclusion to my interview with the incredibly talented pastry chef Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin. We chat more about, you guessed it, chocolate!
Michael Laiskonis is consistently rated as one of the top pastry chefs in the country for his work at the three-Michelin-star-rated Le Bernardin. He also happens to be an incredibly nice guy, and generously took some time out of his insane schedule to answer some of my questions .
I first met Christopher Michael at the 2008 Chocolate Show. His chocolates were gorgeous, of course; and his parents were there helping run the booth, which I loved—but what really caught my eye was the fact that he was based in Newport Beach. "Newport Beach?" I thought. "But...there are no chocolatiers in Orange County...?" Well, Chris changed that. Bringing a finely tuned chef's palate, artistic sensibility, and a touch of humor to his bonbons, he now has a storefront in Costa Mesa, California (my hometown), and is starting to change the tide. I chatted with him about his chocolate experimentation—rendered duck fat caramel, anyone?
[Flickr: El Gran Dee] Ann Czaja [Photograph: lindtusa.com] We recently asked Lindt Master Chocolatier Ann Czaja some basic chocolate questions, like what tasty pairings she recommends and of course, how she got her amazing job. But this time around,...
Ann Czaja [Photograph: lindtusa.com] Chocolatier is on most people's fantasy career list, right up there with pillow tester and ice cream flavor developer. We're happy that Lindt is sponsoring Serious Chocolate this month, and enjoyed the chance to chat...