Saturday, December 24, 2011

Manresa's Desserts

Citrus tapioca and yuzu sherbet, yogurt espuma

Apples in cider lees caramel, with rye crumbs, chestnut with quince sherbet

Pine nut pudding with maple gelatin, candy cap ice cream, sunchoke, chocolate

Chocolate millefeuille with banana and tonka bean, black sesame ice cream, sorrel

Chocolate Madeleine, Strawberry Pate de Fruit
Black Sesame Macaroon

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

West Coast

Packing and getting ready for the next adventure...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Dessert

Tarragon "custard", ruby red grapefuit, celery, yogurt,

crystallized tarragon, campari gelee, campari gel

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Holiday Wishlist

1) Vacuum Concentrator- Genevac Rocket $20,000

2) Centrifuge $20,000

3) Rotor Stator Ultrasonic Homogenizer $900

4) Rotary Evaporator $10,000

5) Pacojet $3,500

6) Vitaprep $500

7) Kitchen Aid Pro 600 $400

8) Dehydrator $300

9) Immersion Circulator $800

10) Cvap $5,000

11) Rational Combi Oven $15,000

12) Chamber Sealer with Gas Injection Port $4,000

13) Antigriddle $1,200

14) Thermomix $1,200

15) Centrifan PE $4,000

16) Peristaltic Pump $500

17) Blast Freezer $15,000

18) Freeze Dryer $30,000

Total Holiday Spending: ~ $132,300

The items listed are in no particular order. Please feel free to send the items or donations to my home address. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grilled Pears at Noma

During my time at Noma I was introduced to a variety of interesting techniques and ingredients. One of the desserts included a grilled pear and aerated pine parfait. I thought the method to achieving the grilled pear was really neat. You start with a conference pear. You then peel, halve and remove the core. Next you reshape the pear, and apply dill oil to the flat surface. Next comes the grilling. At Noma we used the "Green Egg" grills. Making sure the coals are piping hot we placed the cast iron grill directly on top of the coals. We then waited until the pears were completely blackened on the flat surface before removing them. Upon pick up we peeled off the chared surface leaving a perfectly caramelized grilled pear. We dressed the pear with a pear crudite garnished with oxidized pear juice, juniper, lemon thyme, verbena, bronz fennel, and flowers. The grilled pear was placed on the plate with oxidized pear sauce and the aerated pine parfat. A very simple looking plate with a lot of technique in the components. It was one of my favorite plates because it showed so much technique and provided the guest with a light and seasonal dessert. Below are pictures showcasing the method to the actual grilling of the pear, as well as the finished plate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saturday Night Projects

Every Saturday night at the end of dinner service a few chefs and/or stagiers at Noma prepare a "project" for the entire kitchen to try. Basically during the week chefs will come in early or stay late to work on their project for the week. They will continue to prep for their dish throughout the week whenever they have free time. The chefs/stagiers taste and make changes to their dishes daily. On Saturday night at the end of dinner service, after the kitchen meeting, everyone will gather around the pass and plate there dishes in order of where their dish would come on a menu. (starters, mains, desserts etc.) The chefs/stagiers will each plate 3-6 plates in order for the entire kitchen to have a taste. Chef Rene leads a discussion and breaks down everyones dish and offers constructive criticism to the chefs. Anyone who wants to speak up with their own opinion on a dish is welcomed. I really really enjoyed this part of the week while I was staging at Noma. There is a great sense of urgency throughout the week to get all of your components together. The nervousness overwhelms you as you plate your dish, explain it, and answer questions in front of the worlds greatest chef and 30 of his best kitchen team. A sense of calm and relief overtake you as you clear your plates. Below is a picture of my project I worked on for my last week, as well as a link to Rene Redzepi's twitter feed where you can find pictures and brief explanations of past projects at Noma.

Smoked skyr mousse, fennel, compressed apple, celery ribbons,

apple gel, smoke gel, bronz fennel, lovage, crown fennel, coriander flowers

Rene Redzepi's Twitter Feed:!/ReneRedzepiNoma/media/slideshow?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I will be back posting when I return from Denmark, OCT 24.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Goodbye New York...

My next adventure awaits....Stay tuned

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hydrocolloids- Kappa Carrageenan

Kappa is one of the three Carrageenans extracted from red seaweed. The other two being Iota, and Lambda. Typical manufacturing of the raw seaweed produces a wide range of blends all with different properties. A lot of producers of this particular seaweed derived hydrocolloid follow a specific extraction process that involves cleaning, heated extraction, clarification, concentration, drying, grinding and blending to specific customer needs. After manufacturing you a left with a fine powder. Kappa Carrageenan like Iota forms a thermoreversible gel. (A gel that can be remelted after setting...usually by heating about 10 degrees above the gelling temperature.) It is important to note that Kappa pruduces strong and brittle gels in the presence of potassium. It can also form very creamy textures when used in conjuction with dairy products (milk, cream) in concentrations as low as .15%. Kappa shows a great deal of synergism with Locust Bean Gum, and Konjac Flour, both increasing the gels elasticity and strength. Another important note to consider when using Kappa is the fact that gels formed by using this hydrocolloid are very susceptable to syneresis. (syneresis-the separation or release of water in gels). One can combat syneresis in Kappa gels by using a combination of either LBG (Locust Bean Gum) or Konjac Flour. Kappa is a very versatile gelling agent that can be used in a variety of applications in the kitchen. It has the ability to form gels that set very quickly, which in turn can be remelted and set again. Kappa can also be used in conjuction with Iota and Lambda to create a wide variety of textures.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I had the chance to fly out to Napa this past week and stage at one of the best restaurants in the country/world. I had an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most professional and humble chefs this country has to offer. I want to thank everyone at Meadowood for a really great experience. A special thanks goes out to Chef Kostow, and Chef Boris. I look forward to seeing and working with everyone again in the near future. Below are a few pics of some of Boris's desserts.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

WD~50 for the week 8/31-9/4

Its always a pleasure to be in the kitchen at WD~50. Creativity, humility, professionalism are a few words that come to mind. Below are a few pictures of "The youngest pastry chef in NY" and his desserts. Thank you again Malcolm, Scott, and the rest of the team at WD~50 for another amazing experience.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Dessert

Soft chocolate ganache spheres, chocolate high ratio cake, chocolate crumbs,

matcha sabayon, tempura shards, chocolate vines, yuzu caramel

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lady M

I was heading uptown to my favorite bookstore (Kitchen Arts and Letters) when I decided to make a quick stop in at Lady M Cake Boutique. I have heard a lot of talk about their signature Mille Crepes Cakes. Today was my day to be the judge. I decided upon the "Coconut Mille Crepe" The store was packed so I opted for take out. I payed my $8 and took a seat on the curb. I have eaten a lot of cakes and confections in my day...but I have never had anything like this before. There must have been over twenty individual crepes sandwiched together with a light coconut cream filling (I would imagine a coconut diplomat cream) , topped off with toasted coconut. If you have not had a Lady M Crepe Cake you are definitely missing out. Best slice of cake I have ever had!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Dessert

Blackberry, cornbread, mascarpone spheres, creme de cassis spheres, honeycomb, palm seeds, basil seeds, sabudana chips, anise hyssop gel strips, assorted flowers

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Dessert

Cherry glazed cherry, cherry cheeks, maraschino gelee spheres,

pistachio pain de genes, rose hip ice chips, freeze dried raspberry,

raspberry tuile, lime zest

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Dessert

One Bite

Fennel mousse, strawberry, fresh aloe, verbena noodle

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blakes #3

Black strap molasses royale cube, brûléed peaches, oat crumble, peach ginger black tea sorbet, ginger microwave cake, rye wiskey noodle and bubbles, Cataluna spice tuille.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lecithin Air

The other day Blake brought in an aquarium pump to make rye whiskey air. The basic concept of using an aquarium pump to create bubbles is simple. Plug the pump in, regulate the air flow of the pump to create air bubbles. The air was made using rye whiskey, simple syrup, and 1.5% lecithin. The ingredients were sheered well using a vitaprep. Now usually I have seen and used handmixers to sheer the mixture to form stable air bubbles. By using an aquarium pump fitted with a rock diffuser you can create bubbles that have a larger structure to them. Now common physics tells you that the smaller the air bubble the more stable the final mix will be. Using lecithin in your recipe will help in emmulsification as well as the stabilization of these air bubbles. The air itself had great flavor release. It tasted pretty close to taking a shot of whiskey. The bubbles were stable for about 5 minutes or so before they began to deflate. By using the aquarium pump you achieve a very unique looking bubble that not only looks visually appealing but also tastes great. Below are pictures of the aquarium pump blake used, and the rock diffuser. The videos show first the bubbles created using the rock diffuser in water and then the rock diffuser being submerged into the rye whiskey mix creating large stable air bubbles.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Manhattan Magazine

Below is a link to the July-August edition of Manhattan Magazine where one of my desserts is published

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Principles of Modernist Cuisine

The concept of Modernist cuisine is still young and evolving. Its direction has been determined by the vision of individual chefs, rather than by committee or consensus. Still, looking at the movement today, it is possible to discern some shared general principles. In much the same way that the Gault Millau guide outlined the “10 commandments” of Nouvelle cuisine.

1. Cuisine is a creative art in which the chef and diner are in dialogue. Food is the primary medium for this dialogue, but all sensory aspects of the dining experience contribute to it.

2. Culinary rules, conventions, and traditions must be understood, but they should not be allowed to hinder the development of creative new dishes.

3. Creatively breaking culinary rules and traditions is a powerful way to engage diners and make them think about the dining experience.

4. Diners have expectations — some explicit, some implicit — of what sort of food is possible. Surprising them with food that defies their expectations is another way to engage them intellectually. This includes putting familiar flavours in unfamiliar forms or the converse.

5. In addition to surprise, many other emotions, reactions, feelings, and thoughts can be elicited by cuisine. These include humor, whimsy, satire, and nostalgia, among others. The repertoire of the Modernist chef isn’t just flavour and texture; it is also the range of emotional and intellectual reactions that food can inspire in the diner.

6. Creativity, novelty, and invention are intrinsic to the chef’s role.When one borrows techniques and ideas or gains inspiration from other chefs or other sources, that should be acknowledged.

7. Science and technology are sources that can be tapped to enable new culinary inventions, but they are a means to an end rather than the final goal.

8. First-rate ingredients are the foundation on which cuisine is built. Expensive ingredients such as caviar or truffles are part of the repertoire but have no greater intrinsic value than other high-quality ingredients.

9. Ingredients originating in food science and technology, such as hydrocolloids, enzymes, and emulsifiers, are powerful tools in helping to produce dishes that would otherwise be impossible.

10. Diners and chefs should be sensitive to the conditions under which food is harvested and grown. Whenever possible, they should support humane methods of slaughter.

(Modernist Cuisine-pg. 56)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Carbonated Fluid Gel

So the other day I was looking at Blakes iSi Twist and Sparkle and thinking of things that would be cool to carbonate. I had an idea to carbonate a fluid gel. Now, I have put gels into iSi's (thermowhips, etc.) and charged them with Co2. When you do so, the gel airates with the combined pressure of the Co2. Though you do achieve carbonation, the resulting gel becomes more of a foam. I wanted to produce the same carbonation that you get with a thermowhip but did not want the gel to foam. I wanted the same viscosity you would have with a normal fluid gel. The Twist and Sparkle provided me with the ideal vehicle to achieve this result. I set a loose fluid gel using .5 % low acyl gellan and water as a control. I filled the Twist and sparkle with the water gel and carbonated it twice with Co2. The video below shows the 2nd charge of Co2 into the gel. You can see the suspension of Co2 within the gel. The resulting gel was effervescent and held its structure for about 10 minutes before the carbonation began to fizzle out. The picture below is of the carbonated gel about 5 minutes after being charged twice with Co2. Notice the Co2 bubbles suspended in the gel. I believe this technique could open up a lot of possiblities to create some pretty interesting fluid gels.

Sunday, June 19, 2011



1. a state or point in which something has come to maturity or had a desired outcome

2. the enjoyment of a desired outcome when it happens

3. the production of fruit by a tree or other plant

Fruition is: Superlative, delicious, handmade chocolate and confections

I had the honor of working with an extraordinarily talented pastry chef and chocolatier a few years back while I was still in school. We worked on a chocolate showpiece alongside Peter Greweling called "Detritus" (pictured below). Over the past few years we have stayed in touch and now he is starting up his own bean to bar chocolate company in Beacon, NY. His name is Bryan Graham. He started making his own chocolate (in his house) about 3.5 years ago and has been doing it ever since. I recently had the pleasure of trying a sample of his 65% chocolate. Let me say this....probably one of the best chocolates I have tasted in a while. Rich and full of delicious flavors and nuances. It had a lot of complexity and depth to it. Really a great chocolate. He plans to be up and running and turning out 500# batches by early July. He mentioned to me that he wants to start with a couple different origins through which he will purchase his beans...Costa Rica and possibly Peru. He plans to have a couple different chocolate percentages from each 65%, 72, a milk, and a dark-milk. One very interesting thing that he mentioned to me is he plans on being able to cater towards his fellow pastry chefs and design specific blends, roasts, covertures etc. to fit there needs. VERY COOL! I am very much looking forward to sampling some more of Bryan's work. Below is a link to his website. I strongly recommend checking it out. Well done Bryan. Congratulations on all your hard work and accomplishments. I cant wait to come up and visit your facilty.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Dessert

Violet, Raspberry, Acai, Verjus Blanc

Violet custard, crispy angel food cake, argan powder, raspberry gel, acai gel, rasberry tuile, verjus blanc veil, candied violet, acai sorbet, fresh raspberry

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fried Tapioca

One of Blakes components to his "Blueberry Cheesecake" dessert was very interesting to me and I thought deserved its own post. The component was fried tapioca pearls which he used to add both texture and a unique flavor. The technique he used to create these little fried morsels was really cool. He basically cooked large tapioca pearls in water until they were fully cooked. He then took the pearls which still had some of the slimmy residue on them and spread them onto a dehydrator tray and dehydrated them overnight. (the picture above is the tapioca pearls that have been dehydrated) Blake then proceeded to break the sheet into smaller shards and fried them in grapeseed oil. The shards puffed up a lot as soon as he placed them in the frying oil. The pearl shards took less than a minute to fry in the oil. He took the pearls out and immdiately "seasoned" them with a mixture of freeze dried blueberry, buttermilk powder, and fennel pollen. I tasted the pearls before and after the seasoning. The pearls that were not seasoned had a very neutral flavor and a very crisp and crunchy texture. I really enjoyed learning a new technique for frying tapioca. I think the possibilities for flavoring the finished fried tapioca are endless. You might even try flavoring the cooking liquid that you cook the tapioca in before dehydration and frying. The picture below is a finished shard of fried tapioca after being seasoned. Thank you Blake for making a really awesome component and teaching me a new technique!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blakes #2

"Blueberry Cheesecake"

Japanese style sponge, tarragon pebbles, candied anise, blueberry cremeux, fromage blanc mousse, absinthe palm seeds, absinthe drageed almonds, freeze dried blueberries, blueberry tapioca, fennel sorbet, fried tapioca dusted with buttermilk and fennel pollen

Well done Monsieur Blake.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gel Sheets and Veils

I have seen and made quite a variety of different types of gel sheets/veils in the pastry kitchen. The actual technique of making most gel sheets is relatively straight forward. You are basically making a very thin sheet of a gel which you will use as a base, wrapper, or veil (a gel sheet that is draped over other ingredients) . Now when you are contemplating which ingredient you wish to gel you have to decide what type of texture, temperature, and application you will be using your gel sheet for. By doing so you can then decipher which hydrocolloid/s if any you are going to use for the specific finished dish. There are a lot of different combinations of gelling agents that can be used to achieve different results. If you want to make really elastic and malleable sheets you can use: straight gelatin, combinations of agar and kappa carageenan, and combinations of high and low acyl gellans. If you wish to make more brittle gels: you can use straight agar, straight low acyl gellan, locust bean gum and kappa carageenan, and agar and low acyl gellan. If you are using products that contain calcium you can use the combination of iota carageenan and gelatin, low methoxy pectins, and low acyl gellan. If you want to make cold sheets you can use: straight gelatin, agar, agar locust bean gum and xanthan, low methoxy pectin and a calcium suppliment such as calcium lactate or calcium gluconate, or I have even heard of chefs using aloe vera. If you want to make hot sheets you can use: high acyl gellan and sodium hexametaphosphate (a sequestrant used to improve stability), agar and locust bean gum, locust bean gum and xanthan gum, agar locust bean gum and sorbitol (a sugar alcohol) Basically a gel sheet or veil can be made from any type of gel that you wish to spread thin and set. By using this technique you can imbue a lot of your food with very delicate flavors, aromas, and textures. The picture above the post is of a past dish at Alinea using tropical fruits and a coconut gel sheet.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Top 3's

Top 3...Favorites

1)Milk chocolate, black bean, plantain, soy, peanut


Malcolm Livingston II

2)Toasted coconut cake, carob, smoked cashew, brown butter sorbet


Alex Stupak

3) "VIP Set"

Yuzu curd, seasonal fruit, yogurt, nigella, melon

The French Laundry

Daniel Michael Ryan

Top 3...Most memorable

1) "Mat-Plate"

Chocolate, blueberry, tobacco, maple


Grant Achatz/ Dave Beran

2) "Coffee and Doughnuts"

Cinnamon-Sugared Doughnuts, and Cappucino Semifreddo

The French Laundry/ per se

Courtney Schmidig/ Elwyn Boyles

3) Ambrosia Melon Sorbet, French Laundry Garden Strawberries
The French Laundry

Courtney Schmidig

Top 3... I wish I could have tried

1) "Creamsicle"

Rooibos, persimmon, orange blossom
Alex Stupak

2) Opera torte, orange blossom, apricot
-Jordan Kahn

3) "Shattered"
dark chocolate shards, milk chocolate cream, lavender gel, black olive, yogurt powder, silver sugar
-Jordan Kahn