Ok, sure. I suck at updates. In my defense, I’ve been really busy!! I quit my job at the Parker when I was offered the pastry chef position at a company that owned two restaurants and a hotel. They were planning on opening a third and brought me in and boy has it been crazy! I’m so incredibly happy at this place!! We have been open for about two months now and I have so much foodporn to share! But first, a shameless plug:
My new second home is called Jiao, the fourth installment in the Cheeky’s/ Birba/ Alcazar empire. It’s an asian restaurant (read: food from any/all asian cultures). I was so flattered when the (totes awes) owners approached me to take the reins on the pastry department for them. These people know what they are doing. Don’t believe me? Come to Palm Springs. You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner at three different restaurants, drink and party to a live DJ (that occasionally uses solar-powered equipment!) or possibly peruse the creations of local artists, go for a dip in a gorgeous pool then crash out in a big comfy bed….all without leaving a one block radius. They have the PS entertainment arena on lock.
Jiao is housed in a beautiful corner space that was previously a bakery that never quite made it. When I got ahold of my playground, it was pretty sparse and looked like this:
And when I finally had my dream pastry space all finished……..
Isn’t she a beaut?! The best part is, I have been turned loose! “Go crazy!” they told me! AND CRAZY I WENT! Well, admittedly, it was a tad overwhelming at first. Working in a hotel is a totally different beast. It did take a bit for me to really open up and start pushing the boundaries of my own creativity and skill. I have learned so much in the last few months just finally being able to experiment and play. I handled the dessert menu and was proud of it, but then I started in on specials. The most fun part for me was using my classic french training and incorporating asian flavors. I did stuff like this:
Orange cream cake with cream cheese frosting, thai tea custard and coconut caramel. Which was great. Tasted good, people loved it…. Then I got bored. I was so used to being in the box of “safe” French bistro style desserts. One day, it was like a light switch. Without a second thought, without apprehension, I created the dessert that changed everything. Key lime pie. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but that day I walked into the kitchen and this dessert literally just poured out of me. At that moment I knew a whole new world had been opened up. I’ve made it a goal to try something that I have never done before each week for my specials, and I am having a blast!
Key lime frozen souffle, caramalized white chocolate pudding, graham strusel, sweetened condensed milk cube and key lime caramel. The caramel was pure win. I had one of those perfect epiphany moments that I love having in the kitchen. I was making regular caramel sauce to go with this and decided to stop the caramel with key lime juice….then instead of cream I added sweetened condensed milk. I kid you not, this caramel tasted just like key lime pie. The caramalized sugar and vanilla bean took on a crust-ish note. I patted myself on the back and that weekend I sold more of these than any other dessert.
Pluots are in season and I took full advantage and got some beautiful ones in. Kaffir lime parfait, fresh pluot sorbet, pluot sauce, fresh pluots, sesame brittle and white gourd toasted meringue.
I became enamoured with the flavor of black sesame and my lovely friend Sherman surprised me with some gorgeous black sesame paste! Black sesame panna cotta, mango lime sorbet, mango sauce, vanilla bean and greek yogurt microwave sponge, greek yogurt sphere (the kind that explodes and oozes when you break into it) white chocolate crunch and a mango nata de coco. (which I admit is a packaged product that Sherm also brought for me to try. I normally wouldn’t put anything prepackaged in my desserts but it fit and looked cool so I went with it! I will never claim to have made something that I didnt make, for future reference.)
And now we are up to date. This is the dessert special for this weekend. Chocolate ganache, flourless chocolate cake, tarragon ice cream, tarragon foam, dehydrated champagne grapes, salty strusel, rose syrup and maldon salt. I adore the earthy chocolate/ salt/ tarragon combo and adding the little bursts of sweetness from the grapes and floral-y sweet rose syrup…..yum.
So as you can see, I have been a busy woman! But stay tuned because a couple of weeks ago I started adding the “Sunday Funday Sundae” to my specials! I have a very exciting one planned for tomorrow that I cant wait to share!!