Sunday, December 19, 2010

Natural Chocolate Deco

I first saw this technique demonstrated by Jordan Kahn. I believe he used white chocolate and matcha. (dont quote me on that) Basically all I did was take some tempered dark chocolate and piped random swirls onto sifted coconut powder. I then sifted more coconut powder on top of the piped designs. I let the chocolate crystallize and then carefully removed the deco from the coconut powder. I think this technique is a pretty cool way to make natural looking vines, twigs, shapes, etc. Not to mention the chocolate and coconut powder go really well together and taste great. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Perfect Chocolate

What a sharp looking chocolate.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

24k Deco

So I first saw this technique on the pages of one of my favorite books, Siete. Paco Torreblanca, the father of pastry in my mind had his hand in on developing this method. I think the broken shards of gold chocolate are visually appealing. They also give texture, with the snap of your properly tempered chocolate.

I first lay out small sheets of acetate on top of a flat service, in this case a cutting board. I then place the gold leaves down on the pre cut acetate.

Next, I spoon a small amount of tempered dark chocolate on top of the gold leaf.

I then lay another sheet of acetate on top of the tempered chocolate and gold leaf. I use a pallet knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the gold.

I then lay another cutting board on top of the deco. I weigh the top cutting board down until the chocolate has fully crystallized.

A finished gold shard

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hermetic Jars

I have always been a firm believer of organization inside and outside of the kitchen. Just a few of my personal belongings.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Dessert Cont.

Kaffir, Coconut, Pineapple, Macadamia nut

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Basil Seeds

Vietnamese Basil Seeds. I have also heard them called Subja Seeds, Sabja Seeds, Takmaria Seeds, as well as a host of other names. This specific seed is one of the main ingredients in the Indian dessert Falooda. This varietal of basil seed begins to bloom when submerged in water. The whole process from seed to bloomed seed only takes about 5-10 min. The finished product does not have a lot of flavor. I think it is more of a texural and visual component. The bloomed seeds remind me of tapioca pearls with a little crunch on the inside. I will be using these seeds on a new dessert at Corton. The pictures below are unbloomed seeds, seeds blooming in water, and the finished bloomed seeds

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Congrats to Chicago for finally getting rated by the Michelin guide. And Congrats to both former employers Grant Achatz and Laurent Gras of Alinea and L20 for recieving 3 stars. Well done

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Unmolding at Corton

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New WD~50 Dessert Cont.

Grapefuit curd, Hibiscus, Campari, Sorrel streusel, Sorrel sorbet.

(Nice pic Malcolm, can't wait to try it!)

NYC Chocolate Show

Today is the last day to attend. I had the pleasure of visiting the 2010 NYC Chocolate Show on my birthday (November 11). Let me just say this, I am still recovering from chocolate overdose. With over 50 participants the chocolate show boasted a staggering lineup. From what I saw there was a host of "mom and pop" private businesses with only a small number of heavy hitters eg. Valrhona, Guittard, Michel Cluizel. If you are like me and can not live without chocolate you must stop what you are doing right now, and take a trip to the Metropolitan Pavilion for the last few hours of this glorious event. Booth after booth of : hand dipped truffles, molded chocolates, chocolate sculptures, dragees, hot chocolate, wine, pralines, couverture, etc. It was a great way to spend my birthday afternoon. Below are a few pictures of some chocolate sculptures that caught my eye as well as the E. Guittard booth, and some assorted bon bons.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Talenti Gelato e Sorbetto, an artisan gelato and sorbet maker. The brand originated in Florentine in the mid 1500's by Bernardo Buontalenti. The gelatos and sorbets are made from all natural ingredients of the highest quality. So...I was at the store the other day and was in the market for ice cream. I came across this brand that I have never heard of or tried before. So I go ahead and pick up a pint. It actually has a very nice mouthfeel. A little airier than what I expected from a typical gelato, but overall very nice. With a price point of nearly $7.00 a pint it is the most expensive brand that I have ever come across (probably $4 worth of packaging). The picture above is the lid and below is the container and the rest of my order. God I love ice cream.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Modernist Cuisine

A line of books coming March 2011. I cannont wait until this series is released. Authors, Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet have put together what looks to be an outstanding volume of books. The 6 volumes will have a pricetag of $500.00. You can begin to pre-order your books on amazon. With chapters like: Microbiology for Cooks, Heat and Energy, The Physics of Food and Water, Cooking Sous Vide, Thickeners, Gels, Emulsions, Foams, etc. these books will be a highly sought after item for cooking professionals. From what I have seen the photography is phenomenal. I am going to start saving now for this book

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two Tone Pate de Fruit

Quite possible the coolest Pate de Fruit I have ever seen. The two flavors I used for this Pate de Fruit are Verjus Blanc, and Verjus Rouge. Verjus translates to "green juice". It is basically the liquid taken from white and/or red wine grapes before they undergo fermentation. The grapes are broken down and harvested when the natural sugars in the fruit are at there peak. The Pate de Fruit is a pretty standard confection when it comes to the pastry kitchen. It is basically a gel that is set with pectin. In this recipe I used high methoxyl pectin, sugar, glucose powder, and a citric acid solution. I scaled both recipes, both a little different than the next taking into consideration solids content, natural sugars, and acidity. I began by cooking the Pate de Fruit that required the higher temperature first, pooring it on a silpat with confectionary bars as a frame. Directly after pooring the first batch I began cooking the 2nd. Before pooring the 2nd batch on top of the 1st I used a heat gun to warm the top layer of the 1st. (ensuring a solid adhesion between the two) I think the two tone is a more modern take on the classic confection. Not to mention it looks really cool and tastes great.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Above: Pastry Chef Bill Corbett and myself. Below is a picture of one of the Pastry Chef Bill Corbett's summer desserts. It is Caramelized White Chocolate Namelaka, Raspberries, and Sorrel. It was very refreshing and artfully presented. I really enjoyed the short time I had working alongside Chef Corbett. They are doing some really great things at COI. I highly recommend making a stop in and eating if you are in the Bay Area anytime soon. I also hear that Daniel Patterson and Bill Corbett have big plans for Plum, a new Oakland restaurant as well. I look forward to eating there the next time I make it to California.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New iSi Product

It is called the "Twist and Sparkle" It is basically a more affordable soda siphon. Williams and Sonoma are selling it for $49.95. From what I can tell you would add your liquid or anything that you wish to carbonate into the plastic bottle, insert a Co2 canister into the top, and screw the top on to add carbonation. It seems like it could come in handy when making cocktails, or any other carbonated beverage. I wonder if the little wand has to be submerged into the "liquid" or if the entire bottle would be carbonated upon the C02.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hydrocolloids- Agar

Agar is another example of a phycocolloid (a colloid extracted from seaweed). It was actually discovered years before the other 2 phycocolloids (carrageenan, and alginate). Agar is a very versatile gelling agent. It forms thermo-reversible gels that gel when cooled and melt upon reheating. When using agar it is good to know that even the smallest concentrations (.2%) can create a stable gel. When used as your sole gelling agent agar forms brittle gels with a very short texture. I have used agar for a variety of different applications in the pastry kitchen. One of the biggest uses that I have come across is "fluid gels". Basically a fluid gel is a gel that has been set and then reblended to form a "thickened" sauce or puree. Agar can also be used in conjuction with other hydrocolloids to form a wide range of textures. One of the most common synergies is the agar/ locust bean gum (LBG) concentration. By adding a small ammount of LBG to your recipe you can vastly change the outcome of the gel. The gel strength will be increased, and the texture of the resulting gel will become more elastic. This can provide a better mouthfeel when eating the gel. Agar gels also have the ability to become heat stable to a point. Gels made using agar can be held at temperatures up to ~80 C before remelting. This can be a desired property if your trying to make a "hot gel". Below is a basic fluid gel recipe using agar.

Fluid Gel
350 liquid
1.5 agar
.5 ascorbic acid
1.5 gelatin
tt sugar

Bloom gelatin in ice water
Sheer agar, ascorbic, and sugar into liquid
Bring the liquid to a boil while whisking
Simmer for 1 minute
Take off heat, and add bloomed gelatin
Poor out and leave to set
Vitaprep the gel smooth

Friday, September 24, 2010


Day 1, excited.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Apologies

I apologize to anyone who has left a comment and I did not respond, I am a rookie blogger and just realized how to check my comments.

NY Starchefs

I was not able to attend the NYC starchefs, but have been hearing many great things about the demostrations and presentors. If anyone has attended and would like to post a comment about your experience I would love to hear any feedback. I do know that they have a few more classes/demos today, I am not sure what the scheduel is like for tomorrow. Please fill me in, I am dying to know details.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

iSi ?

By the way, does anyone know what iSi stands for?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

iSi Thermowhip

I have used a variety of different cream chargers. I have found that the iSi Thermowhip works the best for me. If you dont already know what an iSi creamer is I will tell you. They are a brand of cream chargers originally meant to make whip cream at home. It is basically a metal canister that holds liquid or other ingredients, it is air tight, and when used in conjuction with either Co2 or No2 you can make a variety of whipped or soda charged recipes. I really like the thermowhip because you can hold hot or cold ingredients in it without having to reheat or chill the canister before use. Cream chargers are very versatile tools in the pastry kitchen. You can make a wide range of recipes: foams, espumas, drinks, cakes, soups, sauces, whipped creams, etc. Below is a basic chocolate mousse recipe that can either be used hot or cold, I prefer hot.

Chocolate Mousse

500 Chocolate 64% or 72%

200 Whole Milk

75 Cream

1ea. Used Vanilla Bean

p Salt


Sous Vide all ingredients together in a bag

Place bag in hot water to melt

Remove vanilla bean and poor into iSi Thermowhip

Charge with 3-4 Cream Charges


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hydrocolloids- Dispersion vs Hydration

One must lead to the next. Lets first discuss the definitions of each term as they relate to hydrocolloids. Dispersion is a mixture of two components that are not alike. This usually relates to the chemical (hydrocolloid) that is being used and an aqueous solution (water). Hydration is the process when the chemical (hydrocolloid) binds with the aqueous solution (water) and becomes fully dissolved. Now that we have gotten the definitions out of the way I can explain some of the different methods in which to disperse and hydrate your hydrocolloid. There are a few different ways in which to disperse hydrocolloids. First and foremost not all hydrocolloids can be dispersed in the same manner. When adding your hydrocolloid it is important to know whether or not it can be dispersed using cold water or hot water. It is also important to know if the the said hydrocolloid should be mixed with another ingredient before being added to the water. In most cases the hydrocolloid can be dispersed easier if mixed with sugar, oil, and/or alcohol. Now that your gelling agent has been dispersed in your liquid it must be hydrated in order to achieve the desired set. To properly hydrate your gel there are a few different methods that you can take depending on what it is that you are gelling. Under most circumstances a strong sheer may be used. Either a hand mixer or even better the vortex of a vitaprep will work. You may also need to heat or cool your dispersion in order to achieve a fully hydrated gel. There are a few signs that you have aquired a properly hydrated mixture. The mix may appear to swell or become more viscous. This is a good indication that you have properly hydrated your gelling agent. You can now leave your gel to set. You disperse to hydrate.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
-Dr Robert Schuller

Monday, August 30, 2010

WD~50 8/29

I once again took a trip to NY, and I once again had a quick bite at one of my favorite restaurants. I had the honor of trying a few of Alex and Malcolm's new desserts. The 1st being "Rainbow Sherbet" (already posted a pic). The second new dish was my friend Malcolm's creation. A soft chocolate ganache (incredible), candied nibs, frozen raspberry, raspberry longpepper sauce, and ricotta ice cream. The dish was stunning. See for yourself...Hats off to WD~50, Alex, and Malcolm once again

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To The French Laundry

Thank you for an amazing experience I hope to stay in touch with all of you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010


A take on the classic croquembouche made and constructed by: Elwyn Boyles, Malcolm Livingston, Richard Capizzi

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Modified Food Starch- Tapioca Maltodextrin

Also refered to as N-Zorbit M Tapioca Maltodextrin is a modified food starch derived from tapioca starch. It plays a very pivotal role in the stabilization of aqueous mediums. Another interesting thing to consider when using tapioca maltodextrin is that when combined with high fat solutions (oils, butter, fat) it will transform the liquid fat into a free flowing powder. I have used tapioca maltodextrin to make a variety of powders from many different types of oils and fats. Some of my favorite oils to use in my recipes are nut oils. A basic recipe follows:

Nut Powder
30g nut oil
27g tapioca maltodextrin
5g 10x sugar
10g dextrose
tt salt
Whisk all ingredients together
Pass through a tamis
Reserve in a dry vessel

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Creativity is seeing something that no one else sees
- Ferran Adria

Thursday, August 5, 2010

TFL Desserts Continued

1) Passion cremeux, pistachio crumble, white chocolate cream, passion sauce, white chocolate sorbet, yogurt, strawberry

2) Ricotta cake, blueberry gel, lemon curd, pinenut nougatine, buttermilk sorbet

3) "Snickers"

4) Grilled peach, vanilla basil ice cream, almonds

Monday, July 26, 2010

Past per se Desserts

1) Cherry, hazelnut, tarragon

2) "Mud Cake", liquid caramel, sassafras
3) "Snickers"

4) Coconut, pineapple