Pastry Chef, Craft, New York, NY
Formerly of: A Voce Madison and A Voce Columbus, New York, NY; Emeril’s, New Orleans, LA
Training: Kendall College, Baking and Pastry Program, Chicago, IL
Favorite dessert of your own creation: Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta with Celery Soda and Lemon Sorbet—it is a very nice transition from savory to sweet.
Inspiration: I love Kate Zuckerman’s desserts, former pastry chef at Chanterelle. She is obsessed with creating the perfect recipe and technique with each thing she makes, so her desserts are always solid. I also really like Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin. His desserts are the perfect balance the traditional and avant-garde.
Free time: Running, swimming, cycling, playing with my dog, and eating out in my Brooklyn neighborhood.
If you weren’t a pastry chef, what would you be? A florist or a social worker. Totally different professions, I realize. Being a florist would appeal to my creative side; being a social worker would appeals to my interest in giving back to one’s community.
Favorite tools: Mini-offset spatula—I use it for everything.
Favorite ingredient: Nuts—they offer great flavor and texture, and they are very versatile. I want to use nuts on all my desserts and usually have to stop myself from doing so.
Favorite serveware: Bernardaud—food just looks amazing on their simple white bone china.
Best part of the business: Instant gratification—I can complete a project within minutes to hours! I love feeling productive and the pastry kitchen always keeps me really busy.
One thing you wish you knew about the industry before you got into it: That the grass is always greener. About four years into cooking, I decided to try something else professionally. Through that experience, I realized I loved cooking more than anything and ultimately went back into the kitchen. Of course, I learned a lot about myself during that time, which is invaluable. But sometimes I wonder how further off I would be if I hadn’t interrupted my focus.
Ultimate pastry job: I’d love to own my own bakery/café with a small garden and classroom. A role that would allow me to cook, garden and teach would be really great and give my a well-rounded sense of contribution to the craft.
Craft, 43 East 19th Street, New York, NY 10003; 212-780-0880
Business profile: Upscale-Trendy, Modern-American cuisine
Number of pastry staff: 5
Number of dessert menu items: 10
Number of seats/average number of covers: 100 seats, 180 covers/night
Quote: “The only thing you can count on is change.”