Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

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 »

Odds and Ends

While the last few posts I’ve written have been singular in focus (palm sugar, mochi), this one is a grab bag of techniques. Not only did staging in Asia introduce me to a variety of foreign ingredients, but also many new ways to treat already familiar foods.   Pandan (a.k.a. Asian vanilla) Pandan, the ubiquitous… Read more »

Some Things I’ve Learned About Mochi

  Before working for Dana Cree, I knew mochi to be a chewy topping for frozen yogurt or a thin veil wrapped around adzuki bean paste. The Blackbird pastry kitchen offered a primer on microwave mochi, as I watched chef Cree apply flavored pieces to her legendary bubblegum dessert and sous-chef Krystle roll out sheets of… Read more »

Trust the Process: Building Desserts at Blackbird

Change happens slowly– or so I’m told. In a professional kitchen, however, change is just part of the day-to-day. Controls are in place to anticipate change and inform reactions to it: a hierarchical system of chef, sous chef, cook; detailed inventory systems and recipes, the concept of “mise en place” and how it rules a cook’s… Read more »

Pastry School- How to make Ganache

  My latest installation for Lucky Peach’s Pastry School is about ganache, the chocolatey backbone to so many pastry techniques. Read about the not-so-simple mixture of cream and milk, and try your hand with the three recipes I’ve written, firm ganache for truffles, medium all-purpose ganache for frostings and fillings, and thin ganache for glazes and sauces. … Read more »

Gubana

One of the most interesting parts of my job at Nico is the exploration of a different cultures’ food traditions. It’s Easter, so naturally there are multiple Italian traditions. What’s really interesting is how these traditions differ among not only regions, but among families. In Italy, Pasqua (Easter) celebrates not only the traditional religious aspects,… Read more »

How to Make Meringue

  My latest piece over at Lucky Peach is filled with very graphic information about making meringue. I feel like it should come with a warning label, since even I started to get cross eyed after writing the word “denatured protein” for the umteenthousandth time.  My friend Marc Shermerhorn took one of my baking classes… Read more »