Dana Cree

Posted May 31st, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

Our pastry work at Blackbird has remained exploratory in nature. We rarely use a recipe twice. Instead of relying on something we’ve mastered, we push ourselves to ask, “what else can we do?” It does mean some of our favorite recipes retire, never to see another mouth again. Avec, however, has become my refuge for… Read more »

Posted April 29th, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

I am a tiramisu purist. To me this means the quintessential Italian dessert is made with aged ladyfingers dipped in espresso, softened between layers of mascarpone that has been lightened with a Marsala sabayon. A proper tiramisu should contain nothing more, save a light dusting of bitter cocoa powder to finish. If I’m feeling really… Read more »

Posted April 10th, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

The topic of culinary school has come up lately here in Blackbirds pastry department as we get to know the newer members of our team, Krystle and Harry. Through conversation, it’s clear we all have a lot in common. However, it’s interesting how divergent our paths into this kitchen are. Jane currently attends the french… Read more »

Posted March 29th, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

Last summer I consulted a pastry chef with much more experience in the world of Italian desserts than I. I was in need of some suggestions for traditional desserts to inform my menu at Avec, and he has managed the sweet side of Del Posto in New York for long enough to make him an… Read more »

Posted March 28th, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

Spring has yet to spring here in Chicago. Temperatures still hover around freezing, and snow flurries obscured my vision as I walked home from work earlier this week. This hasn’t stopped my internal clock from sounding the bells of seasons change with no regard for the wintery climate outside. Without even a suggestion of the… Read more »

Posted March 5th, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

It took a brunch baby shower at Avec and the guests request for an off-menu item to be served for me to see it. As I rounded up the requisite iron and discussed recipes, a hidden passion in my pastry cook came bubbling to the surface. Turns out, Amy McCudden loves making waffles. It may… Read more »

Posted March 2nd, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

With the flow of younger cooks in and out of the restaurants I work at, I hear snippets of conversations here and there often describing dreams for the future, and the chefs they want to be. Not in a lofty sense, actual names of the chefs they admire most and hope to grow into. These… Read more »

Posted February 3rd, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

The only thing constant about Blackbird is that it is in constant flux. The restaurant, founded to house the cuisine of Paul Kahan 16 years ago, was eventually released from his tenure as chef de cuisine, and transformed into a guided creative platform for younger talent. The reigns were first handed to Mike Sheerin who… Read more »

Posted January 23rd, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

On the occasion I leave my restaurant for the night, or have entire days off, I can occasionally be tempted to join the greater part of society and attend a party. Years ago, on one of these such occasions, I found myself in a small circle of adults, foodies if you will, discussing my favorite… Read more »

Posted January 12th, 2014 by Dana Cree & filed under Uncategorized.

We professional pastry chefs have at our fingertips access to something home cooks could never dream of. High quality fruit purees. They come to us frozen in 1 kilo containers, ready to be thawed and folded into our recipes with the simple removal of a plastic seal. Some are better than others but all in… Read more »