– [Chef] You don’t just use
smoke because smoke looks cool. You use smoke because
it actually enhances, it does something to the dish. It makes the dish what it is. I think for me, there’s
definitely an element of theater. I think it’s very important
that, when you do that, there’s a reason behind it. So the dessert bar
is a full dining experience featuring sweet and savory desserts which could easily be your dinner. The whole point is so you can see
what we’re doing so it’s almost like a show. So you can see the whole process
from start to finish and then as a pastry chef always worked in fine dining restaurants, generally we’re in the back of the kitchen, and we work all day to create this stuff and then we never get to talk to anyone about it. We never see if people like it or not. We never get to see that
moment of eating it. I always wanted people to see all the work
that goes into a dessert. So for the dessert bar,
we wanted to be totally transparent and really show everyone
step-by-step how we plate it. I’ve wanted to do this
sort of dessert bar concept and dessert tasting for a few years, and then when I got this
opportunity and we had this space, I was just like, “Let’s do it.” It’s a big risk in New York City. You’ve got competition
and it maybe doesn’t work, but you’ve got to try these things. I think traditionally, people skip dessert because they have this notion
that it’s gonna be so sweet, that you’ve had a meal, and
you’re kinda getting full up. You can’t eat a load of sugar. So it’s very important
for us to really find that balance between sweet and savory. Essentially, it almost is a meal as opposed to six separate desserts. So for the six-course tasting menu,
we try and start almost savory. So when you sit down,
we start with some salt. The first course is actually
an olive oil gelato. We use eucalyptus, which
is pretty much not sweet. And eucalyptus is meant to, sort of clean your sinuses almost. The olive oil is a very neutral flavor. And then the second course
is then yuzu, honeycomb, and barley ice cream, and that
dessert is totally sweetened with honey. So even though there is
an element of sweetness, it’s not gonna affect you as
much as that refined sugar. The third course is a, it’s
definitely a sweeter course. It’s our take on a PB&J, which we serve in a
vintage peanut butter jar. And again, that’s not just to
be gimmicky or make it a show. When you eat it, you eat it out of a jar, it’s kind of, it’s meant to
take you back to being a kid. And then moving down the line, this is a miso cashew dessert, which has an element of sweetness, but again, miso is a very savory flavor, which we’ll pair with pink grapefruit, which has a very bitter flavor. So again, it’s finding that balance. Moving on from that,
we have a black sesame and chocolate dumpling
with a ginger yuzu tea and finger limes. So that’s a take on a
traditional Chinese dessert. You take a dumpling in one bite
and then you drink the tea, which kind of like, again
cleans your palate again. And then the last course
would be a apple tatin. This is kind of our
nostalgia type dessert. It’s meant to take you
back to your childhood. And we’re not trying to
change anything with this. We’re just going classical. We flambé that with calvados
in front of the guests, and then we serve it with
some tonka ice cream. I think the nostalgia element of the meal, and especially at the end,
is really important down here because that’s what desserts
are for a lot of people. It’s that being at home, even if it’s eating ice cream out of a tub. It’s that moment that you really remember. So when we create a new
dish in the dessert bar, we really start with the flavors. So we’ll have like, two or three
flavors we’re working with, and if we get to a stage where
molecular gastronomy is gonna make that dish, then we use it. Sometimes, your dish is kind of,
it’s lacking something, or we want to change the texture, or we want to kinda reverse things around so the guest gets one flavor first
and then the next flavor last. The whole process about
creating a menu, any menu, for me anyway, it’s really
about trial and error. It’s never just think of
something, do it, go with it. You have to almost do it
wrong to get it right. So there’s so many things
where I’ve thought, “This is gonna be great.”
But when we taste it, it just doesn’t work. And there’s a lot of times
there’s the one you’re like, “Ah, it’s not gonna work.” You try it, and it’s really
like a perfect match. With the desserts and the trial and error, I think it’s been a real challenge for us to find that balance with the six courses. So you can have one great dessert that really just tastes really good, but does it fit in with the other five? Is it too rich? Is it too sour? Is is too acidic? Having those challenges
is definitely a good thing because it pushes you. Otherwise you can just
kind of come in every day and just sling stuff out. That’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re really trying to
affect what we’re doing. And that challenge is good because I think from that
challenge that you end up with the best product you can get. If it’s too easy then
everyone would do it.