The next chapter

Monday, Sep 28th, 2015

I’ve recently let go of my position in the pastry department at Blackbird and Avec. No easy decision, these two restaurants have been my home away from home for the last 3 and a half years, and the people inside like family. It’s the best way to leave a restaurant, still loving and longing for my team, my menu, and my mentors. Outside the walls of Blackbird, I’d still do anything for them.

I’ve taken a position with a growing grass based Chicago dairy, called 1871 Dairy. If you’ve spent much time around me, you’ve likely heard me talk about ice cream, my one true love, and my desire to spend all day every day making it. Beyond that, though, is a deep fascination with the transformation of milk into the vast array of dairy products that span the globe. In becoming part of the team at 1871 Dairy, I will help shape the line of dairy products created with the deeply good dairy the herd produces.

The privilege of creating with this exceptional milk just scratches the surface of my decision, all topics for a later date. In the mean time, I wanted to introduce you to the columns I’m now writing. On the west coast, I’m writing a column for Chefs Feed, a biographical journey from my dream job as the pastry chef of Blackbird, to the world of food outside restaurants.

The first installation describes letting go of the dream job.

In the second installation, I describe why blackbird was the dream job in the first place.

And in the third and most recent column, I describe the tasting a candidate must present when auditioning for a chefs role.

The next instillation will be coming soon! I discuss what happens to the cooks left behind, those that hold a department together through the transition between chefs.

Over on the east coast, I’ve been contributing to one of my favorite publications, Lucky Peach! My column is called Pastry School! In it, I get to talk about the fundamental techniques in the discipline of pastry, and their introduction into my own repertoire, which wasn’t necessarily early in my career. Hopefully you too can discover these core techniques along with me, and introduce them into your life as well.

A little bit about fundamentals and their role in a contemporary restaurant kitchen.

Tempering Chocolate! And a “recipe” for tempered chocolate.

How to laminate doughs!
And a recipe for “rough puff.”

The next instillation will be about the dough I consider “the little engine that could”. It just keeps chugging along, making everything from cream puffs to gougers to gnocchi to crullers. Yes, it’s pate de choux!

Take a gander at these columns, I’m beyond excited to contribute to two such amazing online magazines. In the mean time, the window to my own pastry department has closed, but I’m working on finding a few open windows for you to look through!