Last night was the 20th Anniversary of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in the U.S. by Dessert Professional Magazine, hosted at the Institute of Culinary Education in Chelsea. This industry event had many recognizable food writers, editors and chefs that made it fun. In the midst of waiting for the announcement of the winners, Bobby Flay started a hoopla (my photo of him) as he made his presence for his winning pastry chef Clarisa Martino.
This year’s awarded chefs are:
Andy Chlebana, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL
Bill Corbett, Absinthe, San Francisco, CA
Christophe Feyt, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV
Brooks Headley, Del Posto, NYC
Malcolm Livingston II, wd-50, NYC
Jimmy MacMillan, JMPurePastry, Chicago, IL
Laurie Jon Moran, Le Bernardin, NYC
Clarisa Martino, Mesa Grill, NYC, Las Vegas, Nassau
Nancy Olson, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Roy Shvartzapel, Common Bond, Houston, TX
This year’s Hall of Fame Honoree is Florian Bellanger of MadMac.
Here’s some of the desserts served that evening:
Matthew Livingston II of wd~50 served up compressed mango, sheep’s milk yogurt with lemongrass sauce that had this frozen yet liquid tube of mango puree, gel-like mango sheets and tart yogurt. It initially tasted fruity, sweet, liquid then quickly transitioned to the crunchy and herbaceous with lingering notes of lemongrass and mango.
Chef Clarisa Martino of Mesa Grill NYC‘s offered two items but I adored her blueberry panna cotta, blueberry compote, lemon curd macaron the most (the other dessert was a sticky toffee pudding with salted cajeta and vanilla ice cream (my photo; I should note the ice cream was divine!). The panna cotta’s was perfect. The texture was not too liquid and not too firm/gelatinous; not too sweet and the blueberry compote added enough tartness make it intriguing. The lemon curd macaron played on the classic pairings of lemon and blueberries.
I would call Chef Jimmy MacMillan of JMPurePastry, a study on strawberries. This strawberry-focused dessert had strawberries made in a popsicle form (made with Barolo wine), dehydrated, freeze-dried, and fresh, amongst the delicately crisp tuiles. It was amazing.
I’ve been a long time fan of Nancy Olson of Gramercy Tavern‘s desserts. Her desserts have familiar, almost nostalgic flavors but plated so elegantly. Her offering of peanut butter semifreddo, salted caramel, fudge, macaron (which is actually served at the restaurant right now) was phenomenal. It tastes like a sophisticated peanut butter sundae with a lot less clutter – and thankfully, no whipped cream and the chocolate macaron adds a delicate crunch and chewiness.
Chef Brooks Headley of Del Posto (who was recently earned a James Beard Award for Oustanding Pastry Chef) served burrata, olive oil and three types of strawberries. It’s slightly savory from the olive oil but the creamy, mildly sweet the burrata cheese and the sweet strawberries made it work. The strawberries were technically treated three ways (dehydrated, fresh and compote) more so than three different types.
Chef Laurie Jon Moran of Le Bernardin served mini parfaits of the Dark & Stormy. It does mimic the subtly sweet, spiced, and bitter flavors of the cocktail but in a richer dessert form.
Andy Chlebana of Joliet Junior College (Joilet, IL) served beautifully plated Chocolate Raspberry Almond that had these classic flavors that were well balanced.
There’s also the apricot and white chocolate cremeux dessert and salted caramel bonbon by Chef Christope Feyt of Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas that was sweet with a touch of balanced acidity from the apricot compote to counteract the sweetness of the white chocolate cremeux and the gooey centered salted caramel bonbon was fantastic.
To view more photos of this event, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set:
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