Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

Setting the goal

The term “annual review” doesn’t garner the same excitement as “staff party.” While I had attended staff parties with regularity throughout my career, I had honestly never had a real review until I came on board with One Off Hospitality in 2012 at Blackbird. I find the these reviews mildly exhausting to perform for my own… Read more »

A Long-winded Post on Pacojets

If you want to start a lively debate, put a savory chef and a pastry chef in a room and bring up Pacojets. Invented in Switzerland in the 1980s and made available to the U.S. market in 1992, a Pacojet is “a dynamic professional kitchen appliance that makes it easy to prepare high-quality dishes while… Read more »

No News Is Good News

Admittedly, it’s been a little quiet over here at The Pastry Department. A fact that can only mean one thing, we have been anything but quiet in our kitchens! I’ll give you a little update on the team here, as we have all been doing pretty wonderful things in our absence from this blog. Which… Read more »

Un été à Paris: Part two, on surviving your stage

Chapter Two: The Stage We all know the stereotype: an imposing, mustachioed man outfitted in a crisp white chef coat, dumping all of your mise en place into the garbage while screaming obscenities. It’s almost comically cliché, culminating in a very subdued cook uttering a string of “oui chef“s before returning to the failed task,… Read more »

Simple

Recently I had the professional privilege of cooking with group of nationally celebrated chefs at a Friends of The James Beard Foundation dinner at The American Restaurant in Kansas City. The restaurant, the crown jewel in the Hallmark empire, was opulently designed by Warren Platner 40 years ago, borrowing stylistically from another of his restaurants, Windows… Read more »

How creamy can creamy be?

As a pastry chef, I tend to chase textures. Unlike a savory chef, who has a wide array of nature-made textures at their disposal, for example, the range of textures in fish and meat, or raw vegetables, pastry chefs have to create the textures they work with. Where as a savory chef can use nuts, raw carrots,… Read more »

Un été à Paris: Or, how to stage abroad (kinda)

There comes a time in every young cook’s life where they start to ask themselves bigger questions. What am I looking to accomplish in this industry? How much longer can I keep pushing myself so hard? What’s the next step? Or, in the case of myself and my friend Jane (also a pastry cook, working… Read more »

Cake Cake Cake

I visited my friend Amanda Rockman recently in Austin, Texas. She’s taken up residency at The South Congress Hotel, where she fills pastry cases, dessert menus, poolside bars, coffee shops, and an ice cream truck with her brilliant wares. While we were in the kitchen talking she told me a story about a shirt her… Read more »

Home Baking At Work

  I’ve recently taken a new pastry chef position at a collection of restaurants with the same name, The Publican. What was once just a beer hall dedicated to pork and oysters holding down a dark corner of Chicago’s Fulton Market meatpacking district, the Publican brand has since expanded to include Publican Quality Meats, a… Read more »

From plate to cone

Almost 3 years ago a friend asked me “if you were to open your own place, what would it be?” As a pastry chef, it was a tough question to answer. I had been working the fine dining pastry station for 15 years. My first thought was “can’t I just open a restaurant built around… Read more »