1. When & how did you decide to become a pastry chef?
It started with making bread at home. I realized how much I enjoyed it and I was experiencing a little burnout after putting in many year in the FOH at Marriott. I took a professional level course in bread making…full time classes & very intense. I loved it! After that, I took the plunge and went to culinary school. I did a work-study program where I had to earn my tuition by working for about 6 months at the school, before I entered classes. I knew I wanted to cook, but still wasn’t sure what my future would be. While working at the school I was exposed to pastry and that’s when I knew I would be a pastry chef.
2. What advice would you offer young chefs just getting started?
The best advice I have for young people who may be interested in becoming chefs is to be sure. Be certain that you have the passion for it, and by “it” I mean not just creating pretty things as a pastry chef, or a plate of delicious food. “It” is not just the end product, “it” is the whole process, and that involves a lot of hard work and long hours. Know what you are getting into. Personally, I love it, but I’ve seen many people just out of culinary school who didn’t last long because they really weren’t aware of the reality of the business.
3. What is your pastry philosophy?
Very simply, my pastry philosophy is to make delicious desserts. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to work in many different settings – restaurants with different cuisines & catering a wide range of event. What remains the same no matter who your audience is and what style you are working in is this: Make it great!
4. Is there an ingredient or flavor you feel is overused/overrated?
There are times when I feel like I never want to see another lemon in my kitchen, because there is such a wide variety of great citrus fruits available.
5. What trends do you see emerging in the field now?
I think people are becoming more open to savory spices in desserts and also sour flavors.
6. Favorite flavor combination?
Chocolate and citrus or chocolate and peanut butter – I am a big fan of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!
7. If you weren’t a pastry chef what do you think you would be doing?
It’s hard to say where life would have taken me. I really did enjoy my time in the hotel world so that’s a good bet.