(Continued from page 1)

What is the menu development process like?

Before a Best New Chef puts their dishes on the menu, they come to Aspen and work with our culinary team, teaching our chefs the dishes they wish to showcase on the menu until they are perfect.

What challenges does this position present as opposed to a more traditional restaurant environment?

I like to make sure the dessert complements the dishes of each chef. It is an exciting challenge to create new desserts and understand each chef’s inspiration, unique flavor and style, whether they come from Seattle or Cleveland. Say, if a guest enjoys a special menu created by Missy Robbins, we need to have a dessert available to guests that would complement that menu. 

When it comes to creating desserts, where do you derive your inspiration?

A lot of my inspiration comes from my surrounding environment. I enjoy looking at pictures, art and food, and truly taking in the concept of the restaurant.  At times I can visualize a dessert and create the tastes from there.

What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with? How do you incorporate them at Chefs Club?

I really try to focus on the simple ingredients, such as chocolate and fruit. Some of my desserts only consist of two to three ingredients, while still maintaining different textures. I do not like incredibly sweet desserts, but rather strong and bold flavors complemented by decoration and presentation.

Are you influenced by current culinary trends?

I am always influenced by fashion and the culinary trends in Europe. I always try to create a dessert with color, flavor and decoration.

As a pastry chef, how do you see as the role of dessert in the overall dining experience?

Although dessert may be at the end of meal, it plays an important role in the dining experience, as the guests are left with that lingering picture and taste of dessert.

Are there any chefs in particular that you look forward to working with at Chefs Club?

I was inspired to create an Italian dessert during Missy Robbins’ appearance. I am looking forward to meeting executive chef Bryant Ng of The Spice Table in Los Angeles and executive chef Viet Pham of Forage in Salt Lake City.

Contact Charlie Duerr at charles.duerr@penton.com.