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Mar 18, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘pastry chef’

What I Do: Tyler Davis at Element

Monday, May 1st, 2017



Tyler Davis is a details man. From crafting beautiful desserts as executive pastry chef at Element, to designing unique menus for weekly Purveyor’s Table pop-up dinners at Brennan’s, to single-handedly managing his online dessert business, Alchemy Artisan Bakery, Davis aims his self-proclaimed Type A tendencies at confections as visually stunning as they are delicious. Here, the busy sweet tooth shared about finding his passion and making it happen.

“Mom’s the strongest person I know. I didn’t have a father figure growing up – Mom was my mom and my dad. I fell into cooking because she couldn’t always be around to cook. When I was 9 or 10 I was like, ‘I don’t want to eat ramen noodles.’ I called her up and said, ‘How do you fry chicken?’ She was like, ‘Don’t burn down the house.’ She taught me over the phone and I made it.”

“She never bought us presents, but she would always ask what we wanted for our birthday meal and for me, that is the biggest way to show your love.”

“I went to school for cello. I wanted to be a classical musician. I love music, but when you start looking at grad school, auditions, and then you start to see the ratio of classical musicians that have jobs versus those that don’t have jobs and how difficult it is in that industry, I knew deep down inside I wasn’t passionate enough about that to take it to the next level.”

“My mind is always going. I like to start with an original thing and then mix and match it. We’ll have desserts on the spring menu like a cool version of an ice cream sandwich. It has taro ice cream with a matcha dacquoise and black sesame powder. It’s not your typical ice cream sandwich.”

“I started to cook on the side for a few friends to make a little extra money in college. … During that time, it was all experimentation, so anytime I would cook for my friends I was like, ‘Hey, I just saw this on Food Network – I want to try it.’ It definitely sparked a fire. That was the time when all the really cool shows came out, like ‘Top Chef.’ I had never seen anything like that – if I’m in college, I’m not going to spend $60 to $70 going out to eat, but when you see stuff on ‘Top Chef’ you’re like, ‘What is that! This is amazing.’ I became a sponge. Anything that had to do with cooking, I was about it. I watched ‘Yan Can Cook.’ I watched anything with Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, Anthony Bourdain, ‘Top Chef’ – Bravo! You couldn’t take me away from Bravo.”

“Alinea was overwhelming. All the courses were phenomenal, but the dessert course stood out – it was a chocolate dish. It had chocolate soil, chocolate rocks, chocolate creme brulee that was a liquid before and they poured it in a ring mold, took [it] off and it was already set and I was like, ‘I don’t even know what’s happening right now!’”

“You can’t be afraid to fail, because it’s going to happen. It’s definitely going to happen. One time I tried to bake – oh my God, it was horrible – this really, really cool pie crust. I wanted it to be cookie crust. I don’t know what I was thinking. … I ended up using baking soda instead of baking powder, and it completely went everywhere and flooded out the oven. But you can’t be afraid to try new things.”


Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine.

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The Scoop: Prioritized Pastries to launch with pop-up

Monday, January 9th, 2017



Pastry chef Alex Feick is bringing her baking game to area restaurants and retailers. Prioritized Pastries aims to supply area restaurants, stores and individuals with quality artisan breads, pastries and desserts. Feick is an industry vet who’s worked in kitchens like Pie Oh My!The Libertine and now-closed Niche.

Feick said she wants to focus on smaller restaurants and retail outlets that might not have the budget or space for a full-time pastry chef, but still want high-quality pastry items on their menus or shelves. Individuals can place orders as well, and there is no minimum order requirement.

Instead of leasing her own space, Feick has arranged to prepare her wares in the kitchens of several local establishments like Pie Oh My! Orders can be made by contacting Feick via Facebook until the company’s website is up and running in the next two weeks.

To kick off the new venture, Pie Oh My! will host a Prioritized Pastries pop-up from Tuesday, Jan. 10, through Saturday, Jan. 14, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until sold out. Fieck said there will be a rotating menu of her “greatest hits” available, including gluten-free and vegan items.


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The Scoop: Summer Wright to helm Vicia’s pastry program, Reeds American Table names new pastry chef

Friday, December 23rd, 2016




{ Summer Wright’s panna cotta at Reeds American Table }


Summer Wright has been named executive pastry chef at new restaurant Vicia, set to open in late January 2017. Wright currently holds that position at Reeds American Table, where she will be replaced by pastry assistant Ashley Rouch.

Wright said she took the new position in part because of the opportunity it will provide to work with Vicia co-owners Michael and Tara Gallina, who previously worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a highly regarded restaurant in New York’s Hudson River Valley.

“Supporting local farmers is at the core of their cooking philosophy,” Wright said in an email. “It’s really fulfilling to work with Michael and Tara, who put so much emphasis on using the local farmers’ products.”

Wright, who has 16 years of experience in the kitchen, previously worked at Niche, Five Bistro and Claverach Farm. At Vicia, she’ll be responsible for creating sweet and savory pastries for the midday and evening menus. During the day, diners can expect croissants, quiche, scones, cookies and fruit tarts. “Having the opportunity to do a daily daytime service that includes a bakery menu is a major point of interest,” Wright said.

The pastry program will make use of whole grains milled in-house. That’s a big priority for Tara Gallina, who hopes to show people that there is much more out there than all-purpose flour.

“We are really excited to put an emphasis on how versatile and delicious freshly milled flour can be in baked goods,” she said. “Our hope is to spark a conversation with people that there is just as much seasonality and variety in grains as there is with other produce that we now think more about.”

At Reeds American Table, Rouch will have the opportunity to experiment with the pastry program, chef-owner Matt Daughaday said, but he doesn’t predict drastic changes to the dessert menu. “Summer created a formula that works,” he said.

Photo by Greg Rannells

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Editor’s note: This post originally misspelled Ashley Rouch’s name. It was updated at 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 23 to correct the error. It was also updated at 4:40 p.m. to include an additional quote from Tara Gallina. 


The Scoop: Anne Croy leaves Pastaria, to focus on Banner Road

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016



After four years at Niche Restaurant Group, Anne Croy has left her position as Pastaria’s executive pastry chef. Her last day was Thursday, Sept. 1, as reported by Feast.

Croy said she intends to focus on her business, Banner Road Baking Co. “Banner road is a wholesales specialty food business,” she said. Currently, she sells four varieties of granola under the Banner Road name. She hopes to expand her distribution throughout the Midwest and add more flavors and products like energy bars, granola bars, cookies and crackers.

“Anne makes some of the best granola in the world, and we’re proud to still serve her recipe at Pastaria,” said Niche Food Group owner Gerard Craft.




Croy worked at Pastaria’s since it opened in 2012. “I’ve been able to work with some of the finest chefs in the city,” she said. “I just had an amazing team, and I’m really excited about what (executive chef Ashley Shelton) is doing with the restaurant.”

Craft said Sardella executive pastry chef Sarah Osborn has taken over pastry operations and will develop desserts for Pastaria and Taste. She will also have a hand in developing gelato pop flavors for Porano.

Pastaria Nashville executive pastry chef Mathew Rice has been named Niche Food Group executive pastry chef and will work with Osborn to develop the gelato programs at Pastaria and Porano, as well as the overall dessert programs at Pastaria and Taste.

Rice said he looks forward to the added responsibilities, as well as more frequent trips back to St. Louis. “This will keep me involved in the St. Louis food scene, so that’s something I’m excited about,” Rice said.


Catherine Klene contributed to this report. 


The Scoop: The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis names new pastry chef

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014


{Pasty chef Brielle Fratellone and “Lucy,” her life-size pastry wedding dress}


It’s a sweet homecoming for Brielle Fratellone, new pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. The hotel recently announced that Fratellone joined executive chef Melissa Lee in August, replacing chef Nathaniel Reid who worked in the hotel’s pastry program since April 2013.

Originally from the Midwest, Fratellone became enamored with pastry while working as a cake decorator in a grocery store. After winning a James Beard scholarship in 2007, she attended the Culinary Institute of America and upon graduation began working in some notable Florida hotels and resorts, including The Breakers in Palm Beach, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia Island and most recently at the famed, exclusive Everglades Club in Palm Beach.

“Her creativity is helping us as a team,” Lee said. “Her leadership style is excellent, innovative and creative. When I talk about staying relevant, I talk about Brielle.”

Fratellone said she is glad to be back in the Midwest and is excited to build on current trends like deconstructing desserts and to take existing flavor combinations like sea salt and chocolate to a new level. “I want to bring modern influence to the luxury desserts we already serve,” she said.

As pastry chef, Fratellone is responsible for more than just the dessert menu. She and pastry cook Laura Cottler spent more than 96 hours planning and executing a life-size wedding dress made entirely of pastry elements for The Ritz-Carlton’s reopening of its grand ballroom. Fratellone is now hard at work creating another “out-of-the-box” holiday creation scheduled to be unveiled in the hotel lobby Nov. 28.

The Scoop: Stephan Schubert wins ACF Pastry Chef of the Year

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

It’s a big week for River City Casino executive pastry chef Stephan Schubert, who was just named the National Winner in the American Culinary Federation’s 2014 Pastry Chef of the Year Award competition, standing out among over a dozen regional competitors and three other national finalists.

Schubert, who oversees the bread and pastry program at River City, applied to compete last fall. A judging panel reviewed a pool of several dozen applications from the Central region before selecting four finalists, including Schubert. The finalists squared off in the regional competition, held in St. Louis in March. (The Central region includes Missouri and 14 other states in the Midwest and South.)

After winning their respective regional competitions, Schubert and three other chefs from around the U.S. advanced to the ACF National Convention in Kansas City from July 25 to 29.

At the convention, Pastry Chef award finals consisted of a timed exhibition-style competition, in which contestants were given two and a half hours to create a cold-plated dessert that used cherries and pistachios, a showpiece and a signature cookie. The competition’s theme changes annually – this year, it was The Wizard of Oz.

“I wanted to do something that really showed my skills, to represent myself and my style of cooking,” said Schubert. “I wanted to set myself apart.”

He started with a traditional éclair “with a modern twist,” creating his own chocolate from fresh cacao beans and topping the éclair with cherry mousse. A from-scratch pistachio ice cream, colored with Matcha green tea, was served alongside it. A cardamom-flavored meringue rounded out the dish.

Next, Schubert devised an elaborate all-chocolate showpiece in homage to Oz. His was a darker interpretation of the story, complete with a molded chocolate tornado and gnarled yellow brick road.

“I wanted to focus on the bad things: the tornado, the poppy field, the witch,” he said.

For the cookie stage, he sandwiched milk chocolate ganache between two orange cookies and topped them with passion fruit jelly.

“What he was able to produce in that two and a half hours was fantastic,” said Darrin Aoyama, chair of the judging panel for the Pastry Chef category and executive pastry chef at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. “(The showpiece) had a high degree of difficulty and high degree of artistry to it.

“We were really impressed with his work,” he added. “He was well organized, managed his apprentices really well and had great focus.”

In addition to the Pastry Chef of the Year title, Schubert was awarded $5,000 for his win.

Since age 16, Schubert has led a distinguished career as a pastry chef, having previously worked in his native Germany, Switzerland, Greece and, for a time, on a Cunard Cruise Line ship. Before moving to St. Louis, he was an assistant pastry chef at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. He then worked as the executive pastry chef at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles for seven years before taking the top job at River City.

He cited the vibrant culinary scene in St. Louis as an under-the-radar nexus of good food. “It’s a big city, but it’s also really small. And underrated.” He added that this keeps him motivated.

“I’m trying to challenge myself to be better,” he said.

-photos courtesy of the American Culinary Federation

The Scoop: Winslow’s Home adds a new baking program, new chef and new event space

Friday, February 7th, 2014


{Lisa Fernandez-Cruz, baking with sons George and Wil}


Winslow’s Home, located at 7213 Delmar Blvd., in University City, is expanding in more ways than one. Under the guidance of its new executive pastry chef, Lisa Fernandez-Cruz, the cafe and shop is expanding its baking program.

Fernandez-Cruz plans to add more sweet and savory baked goods, along with some artisanal breads. She expressed her excitement about joining the Winslow’s team and working under owner Ann Sheehan Lipton. “Our personal beliefs, as far as things we think about in the food industry, are on the same lines. It will be a super-easy transition. And fun. I’m pretty psyched,” Fernandez-Cruz said.

Since moving to St. Louis in 2012, Fernandez-Cruz also has overseen the baking programs at The Cheshire’s restaurants and the Gamlin brothers’ Gamlin Whiskey House and Taha’a Twisted Tiki.

In addition to Winslow’s baking program and pastry chef, it has also added a new downstairs space, The Cellar, which will serve as an event space with seating capacity for 36. Along with seating, The Cellar is equipped with a bar and TV, so it can be used for work presentations and cooking classes, as well as special lunches and dinners. Executive chef Wil Fernandez-Cruz said Winslow’s first such dinner will be on Valentine’s Day. “A lot of people want to have Valentine’s dinner in a special place, a place that you remember. It’s really unique,” he said. “But we’ll also have a take-away menu, too, for the people who don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day at all.”

-photo by Carmen Troesser


The Scoop: The Ritz Carlton, St. Louis’ Nathaniel Reid featured in The New Pâtissiers

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

092413_reid{A cake created by Nathaniel Reid}


While more area chefs and restaurants are landing on the national culinary radar, one St. Louis chef has received aplomb on a global scale. Nathaniel Reid, executive pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, is among 38 pastry chefs from around the world included in The New Pâtissiers, the latest book by Australian-based writer Olivier Dupon (His previous books include The New Jewelers and The New Artisans.). The hardcover book, to be released Oct. 8, explores each chef’s style through biographies, photographs of them in action, and recipes of their mouthwatering cakes, tarts, chocolates and other sweet works of art.

Reid’s three recipes published in this cookbook require experience and fairly sophisticated kitchen equipment. But for those who appreciate masterful, modern pastries, this coffee-table book can serve as a window into current trends in pastry and sugar arts. For Reid, who joined the culinary team at the Clayton hotel this year, those trends include “more exploration of shapes and colors than in the past.” Named one of the top 10 pastry chefs in America by Dessert Professional magazine in 2011 and honored with the title Pastry Chef of the Year at the U.S. Pastry Competition in 2010, Reid explained his approach is to push boundaries, while still keeping his pastries approachable using timeless flavors like caramel, chocolate, red fruits, tropical fruits, hazelnuts and pistachios. Another trend he embraces is dialing down the sweetness of a dessert by using savory ingredients or offering cakes that are “more cake, less mousse. People are bored of mousse,” he said.

Reid’s desserts published in The New Pâtissiers are not on the menu at The Ritz-Carlton, but you can find The New Pâtissiers for sale in the hotel lobby. The book can also be ordered online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound for $60.

-Photo by Erik Kellar



The Scoop: Tree House announces pastry chef hire

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

In mid-April, The Scoop reported that the soon-to-open vegetarian restaurant Tree House had hired John Intrieri as its executive chef. The lunch and dinner spot, located at 3177 S. Grand Blvd., has since hired Victoria Lopez (pictured) as its head pastry chef. Lopez attended Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving to St. Louis in 2009. Since then, Lopez has worked at Black Bear Bakery on Cherokee Street and Bixby’s in the Missouri History Museum. Her familial Puerto Rican influences work their way into her desserts, adding another dimension to Tree House owner Bay Tran’s Vietnamese background and Intrieri’s South American and Italian roots. All three are first-generation Americans and are excited to call on the cuisine of their respective heritages, along with their familiarity of American culture, in order to offer a menu with truly global flavors.

Look for Tree House to open by mid to late May.

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