Ones to Watch 2015: Britt SimpsonAge: 28
Why Watch Her: She's whipping up a whole new world of pie and pudding en flambé.
To understand Britt Simpson, you need to know a few numbers from the Disney songbook. You have to stand up and belt out “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast or “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book or “Let It Go” from Frozen. Dance around. Use your arms. Work it, Cinderella.
That’s what Simpson is doing when she bakes macarons at Five Bistro. The pastry chef – who claims she originally did not want to be a pastry chef because it seemed so “girly” – rocks her Disney Pandora station and whistles while she works.
Is that why there’s magic in the macarons? “A lot of people are in love with them,” Simpson said. “Every customer at Five gets one on the table when they leave. It’s our way of saying thank you for coming and leaves a lasting impression.”
“She’s unbelievable,” said Anthony Devoti, chef-owner of Five. “Her macarons are the best. Her pastries are amazing. She is creative in her own right; she doesn’t need any guidance.”
At Five, Simpson is regularly asked to “MacGyver” the local, seasonal ingredients that Devoti sources.
“It forces you to be creative,” she said. “One time Anthony ordered some pawpaws, which are similar to bananas but have huge black seeds. I made sorbet and everybody loved it. I had never even heard of a pawpaw outside of The Jungle Book.”
A baker with this much talent might start to think about her next move. “Anthony and I have talked about opening a little shop within Five where I could sell macarons and breads. Someday I’d like to open a small restaurant with my boyfriend, who is a chef here at Five, as well. Sooner, rather than later.”
Five Bistro, 5100 Daggett Ave., St. Louis, 314.773.5553, fivebistro.com