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What seasonal ingredients do you like to incorporate into
your dishes?
I love the summer time and all the fruit. It allows me to create
and do so much.
What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?
A baker’s lame, emulsion blender, offset spatula, and my deck
Cupcakes….love’em or hate’em?
They sell well and I have found them to be a great outlet for
deconstructing plated desserts that I did in the past. Ours have
great flavor profiles, so I have to say right now I am enjoying
There is the common saying that “cooking is more of an art
and baking is more of a science.” Thoughts?
There is science to it, but it is touch and feel to me. You need
to know everything that is going on, humidity, heat, so many
things can screw it up. Science won’t help with that.
44 Pastry & Baking
North America
Chef in Focus
What is your philosophy towards flavor? Do you try for a
mix or variety of flavors or do you believe in simple, single
distinct flavors?
You have to have great flavor with everything when cooking.
You need to find the best time to use the fruit to get its best
flavor. Same with herbs. Extracts I can’t stand. I hate vanilla
extract, I only use vanilla paste. Using salt in pastry is very
important to me, it is how I get a lot of flavor out of the simplest
items. Mixing different flavor varieties can be dangerous even
for someone with a great deal of knowledge.
How important is it, do you think, to have your own personal
“style”(i.e., signature recipes, etc.)? Is that something aspiring
chefs should try to establish, right off the bat?
In time, you grow your own style, but it takes years. And young,
aspiring chefs should sit back, relax, and truly learn a plethora
of styles. Work with as many chefs with different styles as you
possibly can. I do not understand these people that work for
one chef for most of their career than want to branch out and
do their own thing. Their own thing is what they were doing
at their old job.
Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?
Jacques Torres, Francois Payard, Oriol Balaguer, and Danny
How does the creative process generally work for you?
I have no idea. It just happens. I start thinking about what I
want to create and nothing, no ideas. Hours or days later, it
hits me. I have better creative days than others. Owning my
own business does not allow me to be as creative as I used to
be, I have to be the business guy, marketing guy, HR guy,
plumber... everything.