Chocolate, the fallback dessert ingredient for many young chefs, doesn’t fare well in the Lowcountry. “It’s hot down here,” Kelly Wilson, an instructor at Trident Tech’s Culinary Institute of Charleston, this week explained during an American Culinary Federation regional conference session dedicated to regional pastry.
“In terms of climate, that dictates what you can make and what you can store,” Wilson said.
But Wilson urged her audience to think beyond chocolate for other reasons, too: While chocolate has a long central American history (and shorter European history), a bevy of other ingredients are more closely tied to the Native American, African, British and French cultures that are reflected in traditional Charleston foodways. Chefs who reflexively localize their savories sometimes forget about fortified wine, black walnuts, rice, sweet potatoes and coconuts when planning last courses, Wilson suggested. Continue reading
Although online reviewers have described FIG’s desserts as “fabulous”, “delicious”, “excellent” and “amazing” (because, really, what else can you say about the restaurant’s famed sticky sorghum cake?), chef Mike Lata says the restaurant’s taking a “new direction” with its sweets course.
FIG is now looking to hire its first dedicated pastry chef. The position is being advertised in markets including New York City.
“We want to start paying extra attention to pastry,” Lata says. “Although we currently are inspired to create desserts and are proud of our program, (chef de cuisine) Jason Stanhope and I feel like the program deserves the attention of a pastry chef with focus, pedigree and passion.” Continue reading
In the decade since he left his executive pastry chef post at the White House, Roland Mesnier has become renowned for divulging former first families’ culinary peccadilloes and second-guessing the executive kitchen’s current staff members, so it’s no surprise he favors fruit with bite.
“We are here to celebrate the famous kumquat!,” Mesnier proclaimed at the outset of a recent Southern Season cooking class.
Mesnier’s demonstration dessert menu included strawberry soufflé and Bailey’s Irish Cream ice cream (a recurrent hit at the White House, which made a big deal about St. Patrick’s Day even before a Chicagoan was in charge.) But it was the glazed kumquats preparation which allowed him to expound on his lifelong avoidance of artificial ingredients.
“I don’t like extract,” Mesnier said. “Don’t mention extract to me.” Continue reading
Charleston cookbook author Holly Herrick is planning a number of local appearances to promote her new book, Cream Puffs & Eclairs, the second volume in The French Cook series.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, Herrick will be stationed at The Peanut Shop, 92 N. Market St., for a book signing from 1p.m.-4 p.m. And on Sunday, Nov. 24., Herrick’s teaching a choux pastry class at Southern Season’s cooking school (although if you’d prefer to catch Herrick sooner, she’s leading a mother sauces class this Sunday at 2 p.m. The session costs $40.)
Herrick’s book will be released tomorrow.
Following last week’s sell-out, Kaminsky’s has raised the production – and the price – of its quasi-cronut.
Kronutz now retail for $5, a 60 percent increase from the initial purchase price. But buyers can take some solace in knowing they now have a better chance of scoring the cult croissant-doughnut cross: The bakery plans to make 50 Kronutz on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The first-come, first-serve rule and two-Kronutz-per-person limit are still in effect.
Kamisky’s opens at noon on the weekends. Good luck.
While celiac disease sufferers sometimes fret that the sudden popularity of gluten-free foods could obscure the gravity of their condition – “this is our medicine,” the founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness recently explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer – a local gluten-free baker says better-tasting medicine never hurt anybody.
“It is a serious condition, but life is to be enjoyed,” says Julia Ingram, who was diagnosed with severe gluten intolerance while enrolled in pastry school. “I want to make things that are delicious.”
Ingram acknowledges that many of her customers at Sweet Radish Bakeshop, scheduled to open next Monday on the corner of Spring and St. Philip streets, won’t be under doctor’s orders to eat her salted caramel brownie cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and banana bundt cake. But by exposing eaters without gluten sensitivities to the diversity of gluten-free baking, she hopes to raise local awareness of mandated gluten-free diets. Continue reading
Dominique Ansel has already moved on to the “magic souffle,” a sturdy, Grand Marnier-filled brioche which sold out within 15 minutes of its debut last Friday, but Charleston’s now catching up with the treat that made the New York City pastry chef a national sensation.
Kaminsky’s Baking Company this week is issuing the city’s first “KronutZ”, a play on the croissant-doughnut cross that briefly sold for upwards of $20 on the NYC black market. To protect his cronut supply, Ansel imposed a two-cronut-a-person limit on rabid fans who started lining up outside his bakery two hours before opening.
Kaminsky’s is borrowing that tactic, meting out its daily supply of 25 KronutZ on a first-come, first-serve basis, limiting customers to a two KronutZ maximum. KronutZ will only be available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, starting at noon (Ansel’s SoHo unleashes its cronuts at 8 a.m., so late-risers should appreciate the schedule.) Continue reading