(Continued from page 1)

What are some ingredients that you enjoy working with?

I love working with savory ingredients. I think adding savory elements to desserts really enhances the flavor and keeps them interesting. Recently, I made oatmeal bacon cran-raisin cookies for the staff and everyone loved them.

And some that you find most challenging?

I would probably say chocolate. Chocolate is one of my favorite ingredients, but it can be extremely challenging to work with. I am constantly learning new techniques.

Recette's chocolate custard (Photo: Melissa Hom)What are some current trends you are noticing from your peers?

People are drawn to items that are familiar to them. I think pastry chefs are beginning to focus more on reinventing the classics and adding new twists on American childhood favorites. Also, with the growing number of people eating gluten-free, I think there will be an increase in gluten-free options. 

Are you influenced by any specific trends?

My philosophy has always been to use the best available ingredients and to think seasonally. At Recette, we focus on the classics, but always add our own unique spin on it. Thinking creatively allows us to reinvent and rework traditional items. 

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

I think the most challenging aspect of my job is probably technique. Mastering technique is very difficult, and always producing consistent dishes can be very difficult. Other than that, I would say that the physical aspect of being a pastry chef is most challenging. We are on our feet 15 hours a day, six to seven days a week, and that’s definitely exhausting in itself.

And the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of being a pastry chef is satisfying my customers. It’s great to see that your hard work has paid off when your customers enjoy the desserts you’ve created and have them coming back for more.

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