Archive for the Pastry Chefs Category

What I’m Reading: Dessert FourPlay

Posted in Book Review, Celebrity Chefs, Inked Rogue Chefs: The Book, Pastry Chefs on January 2, 2009 by winechef

2481036697_88fb9be4dfAs New York’s sexiest chef Johnny Iuzzini has committed to being an Inked Rogue Chef I was compelled to pre-order his book Dessert FourPlay, which finally arrived after Christmas, and after months of anticipation. I had no idea what to expect and had no intention of actually reading a recipe book (I know, not a typical chef’s perspective). Instead I found myself unable to put it down and inspired to do pastry again professionally (now if only there were any jobs…). The pictures are almost three dimensional and the desserts are all doable in a home kitchen. There is very little of the “molecular gastronomy” techniques or ingredients,which is impressive considering how inventive, haute and modern everything seems, and all of the ingredients that seem like they might be remotely inaccessible, Johnny clearly lists where to find them on the same recipe page! He uses tomatoes, parsley, balsamic vinegar, beets,  basil, and rhubarb pickles combines with vanilla, cream, chocolate, simple syrup and cake…and it all makes sense!

Most intriguing to me at this point? Powdered Coconut milk (used in a portion of the Strawberry FourPlay), Candied Beets, Herb scented fruit leather, and homemade Japanese Mochi!

Johnny plays with texture, flavor, temperature, innovation, and technique throughout the book, offers ways to cheat by “making it simpler”, and provides accessible resources. Each theme or ingredient is presented in four completely distinct versions that will be sure to open your mind and send your palate into another dimension. Dessert FourPlay will be the most invaluable book to the home or professional Rogue (pastry) Chef in recent memory.

To see a video clip of Johnny on ABC click here.


Gelatin Conversion

Posted in Cooking at Home, Pastry Chefs, Product Review, What's the Deal With...? on October 20, 2008 by winechef

Since this is what helped to bring Marisa down from season 2 of Top Chef, I knew I had to find the right information before attempting a French pear mousse recipe that used leaf gelatin AKA sheet gelatin as one of its ingredients. Having only powdered gelatin at home I needed to figure out, hopefully once and for all, what the exact conversion is when dealing with most professional pastry chef’s recipes. For an article on the difference and the best to use click here.

3 teaspoons of powdered =4 leaves

3-4 leaves = 1 envelope

and just for kicks…

Agar Agar = same amount of powdered gelatin

Desserts by the Yard

Posted in Book Review, Pastry Chefs on August 24, 2008 by winechef


I just finished reading Sherry Yard’s Desserts by the Yard, a virtual autobiography through delectable desserts. This is the first cookbook that I have read cover to cover (no, not even the French Laundry), and now I’m on my way to Home Depot to find shower liners that I can use as tuille stencils. The book is fully dog eared and ready to fill my home with desserts that I have no business eating right now.

An Evening with Sherry Yard

Posted in Bay Area Festivities, Pastry Chefs on August 22, 2008 by winechef

It’s been 8 years since I first met this amazing woman at Spago in Beverly Hills. I had just gotten back from an impromptu drive from Napa Valley to Mexico right after the millennium New Years, (hey why not?) and had decided to stop by the restaurant on my way back. It was between lunch and dinner service and god knows what I said or what excuse I gave to who ever was at the front door, but Sherry took me in, gave me a full tour (I think she’d just gotten her chocolate room) and then sat me down at the bar and sent out plate after plate of her legendary desserts. I remember feeling totally in awe and as if I was being taken in by a close family member and the most amazing mentor at the same time. 

This last Wednesday I was able to attend a 3 hour cooking demonstration at Draeger’s in San Mateo with her. The time was filled with the same New York attitude and warmth that I remembered from our last acquaintance. She is just as amazing and talented as ever and her newest book Desserts by the Yard have left her a place forever in my heart.