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Pastry Trends: Five of the Best Paris Pastries

Posted by Bea Davis on Jul 31, 2014 4:18:58 PM
Lindsay Tramuta of The Wall Street Journal chronicled her five favorite Paris pastries in her recent article.  She found that some of the best pastry chefs are focusing intensely on a single signature item.  Her top picks and possible future pastry trends: classics like eclairs, choux, tarte tropezienne, merveillieux, and a very special angel food cake.
Patisserie Ciel

Topics: Pastry Trends, Paris

Ladies' Luxuries: Versace

Posted by Jillian Mead on Jul 25, 2014 4:35:00 PM

The 2015 theme of the U.S. Pastry Competition is Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend: Ladies' Luxuries.  As our finalists seek inspiration for their magnificant creations, we will look at some of the world's great designers and learn a little about the inspirations for their great works.




What do Madonna, Demi Moore, Britney Spears, Halle Berry, Kate Moss, and Gisele Bundchen all have in common (besides being beautiful, wealthy celebrities)?  Each of these famous women has been appointed by Versace to endorse its luxurious brand.  One of the world’s leading fashion houses, the Italian design house was founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace and is known for its clothing, accessories, and cosmetics as well as luxe home furnishings.  Although the Versace family are from Reggio Calabria, a mountainous region in located at the “toe” of the Italian peninsula, the first Versace shop was opened on Milan’s Via della Spiga, one of the city’s most upscale and prestigious shopping streets, after Gianni completed an apprenticeship at his mother’s dressmaking business followed by working as a freelance designer for some top fashion houses of the time.


Versace’s first shop in Milan was instantly popular and eventually grew into a business with several lines making up the brand: Atelier Versace, Versace Couture, Versace Sports, Versace Home Collection, Versace Jeans Couture, Versace Collection, Young Versace, and Versus.  Versace Couture, the house’s main line, is extremely high-end.  Comprised of apparel that is often handmade, this is typically the only Versace line that is shown on the runway.  The company also operates a 5-star hotel, the Palazzo Versace, located on Australia’s Gold Coast, with another hotel scheduled to open in Dubai at the end of 2014.   



Gianni’s bold designs consistently challenged the boundaries of the fashion industry and earned him a reputation as a creative genius.  The vibrant prints, distinctive cuts, and unconventional materials he used joined contemporary culture and high art brilliantly.  Versace won the Cutty Sark and Golden Eye (L’Occhio d’Oro) awards in 1982 for this Fall/Winter women’s collection, in which he debuted his famous chain-mail dress.  


Get more U.S. Pastry Competition Information


Versace’s passion for the performing and visual arts spanned and enhanced his career.  He began working for the Teatro della Scala in 1982, designing spectacular costumes for productions that were featured in stage events worldwide.  His ardent patronage of the arts solidified him an esteemed member of the international artistic community.  


Gianni Versace was killed on July 15, 1997 in Miami, Florida by Andrew Cunanan.  Since then, the Versace family has retained control of the house of Versace in true Italian fashion.  His sister Donatella, formerly vice-president, stepped in as creative director.  Gianni’s older brother Santo Versace became the CEO, and Donatella’s daughter Allegra has owned 50 percent of the entire company since 2004 as bequeathed in Gianni’s will.  She has the final decision about many important details regarding the Versace clothing line.  


Allegra and Donatella Versace

While he was only 50 years old when he died, it is clear that Gianni Versace left a lasting impact on the fashion world.  He was named “the most innovative and creative designer in the world” by the Cutty Sark Award jury in 1988, and in 1993 he received the American Fashion Oscar from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.  He was honored by Italian and French presidents for his work, and the design house he founded remains highly respected and pioneering today.  





Topics: U.S. Pastry Competition

Cookie Puss: Intergalactic Pastry From Tom Carvel to the Beastie Boys

Posted by Bea Davis on Jul 25, 2014 7:00:00 AM

The Gothamist has a fun post chronicling "The Strange History of Carvel's Cookie Puss".  Is he really a space alien from another galaxy?  Or just a delicious but somewhat bizarre looking frozen confection?  And what inspired the Beastie Boys to create a song about Cookie Puss?


 Click the link for all of the answers, including the rivalry between Cookie Puss and Carvel's best known character cake, Fudgie the Whale.

Pastry Trivia: The Scientific Way To Cut A Cake

Posted by Bea Davis on Jul 24, 2014 4:10:38 PM

It's an age old question: what's the best way to cut a round cake?  It was over 100 years ago that a respected British scientist actually published a paper discussing this pastry conundrum.  His findings inspired TouTube channel Numberfile to make this illustrative video.  The rubber band method looks pretty awkward.  A twisted length of plastic wrap would work even better.



Topics: Curiosity

First Eclairs, Now Choux: Past Hits Are Current Trends

Posted by Bea Davis on Mar 31, 2014 9:50:13 AM

As Le Figaro reports, choux a la creme is a hot trend in Paris.



Methocel F50: Not That Kind of Meth

Posted by Jillian Mead on Feb 16, 2014 7:22:26 PM
Methocel F50: Not That Kind of Meth


Though it sounds like some sort of illegal or prescription drug, or possibly a top-secret weapon, Methocel F50 is simply a chemical compound derived from cellulose--the main constituent in plant cell walls. While it doesn’t occur naturally, Methocel F50 is derived from natural ingredients synthetically. Cellulose is heated with a caustic solution such as sodium hydroxide, then treated with methyl chloride. In the resulting chemical reaction, the hydroxl groups are replaced by methoxide, and this new composite is called methyl cellulose.


Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were good cooks, but definitely not chefs...

Methyl cellulose is a hydrophilic white powder that dissolves in water to form a viscous, clear gel. It’s used as a thickener and emulsifier in the cosmetics and food industries, and like cellulose it is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and not digestible.  It’s added to  everything from hair shampoo to ice cream to toothpaste, so chances are there are plenty of items containing methyl cellulose in your household. 


Pistachio Noodles in mulled wine 

There are about 20 different types of methy cellulose. Each one is similar but has distinctive properties, differing in their dispersion and hydration requirements. Methocel F50, commonly used to stabilize whipped foams, is one of the more forgiving types to work with. It can be dispersed in either hot or cold liquid.  The best method of dispersion is to put the base liquid into a blender, then whir it until a vortex forms. Sprinkle the Methocel F50 into the vortex and blend to combine, then refrigerate.  Methocel F50 needs to be chilled to complete the hydration process, which can take several hours. 

Get This Cuisine-Tech Recipe


Making a foam from Methocel F50 is pretty easy. Combine it with a flavored liquid, then whip in a standing mixer with a whisk attachment until the mixture forms soft or firm peaks.  You can add some xantham gum to further stabilize the foam.  A 1% to 2% ratio of Methocel F50 to liquid is typically used for creating foams, along with 0.1% to 0.3% xantham gum.  The higher the ratio of Methocel F50 and xantham gum, the denser the resulting foam.  Once whipped, the foam can be served or dehydrated to create a sort of meringue texture.


Creative culinary uses for Methocel F50 abound. Watch our demonstration video for more information.

Topics: Cuisine-Tech

Queen of Pastry 2014: Centerpiece

Posted by Bea Davis on Feb 16, 2014 6:43:42 PM

The sugar centerpiece of Cher Harris, U.S. finalist and winner of the Queen of Pastry competition held at SIGEP in Rimini, Itlay last month.  Cher is a finalist in the 2014 U.S. Pastry Competition at the Javits Center in New York City on Sunday March 2.  Cher is the executive pastry chef at The Hershey Hotel in Hershey, PA.  Her piece is featured on the back cover of Le Journal du Patissier.  



Topics: U.S. Pastry Competition


Posted by Bea Davis on Jan 18, 2014 8:00:00 AM

The selection committee composed of Gilles Renusson, President of Club Coupe du Monde U.S.A., Anthony Valla, Vice-President and CEO of Valrhona U.S.A., Ewald Notter and Donald Wressell, both Official Team Coaches, are happy to introduce the members of TEAM U.S.A. 2015 which will represent the United States of America in the fourteenth Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in Lyon, France in January 2015.


John Kraus – Team Captain – Pastry Chef/Owner – Patisserie 46  Minneapolis MN

Joshua Johnson – Pastry Chef – Vanille Chicago IL

Scott Green – Executive Pastry Chef – The Langham Hotel Chicago IL


The team will train at Vanille Patisserie in Chicago and at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

We are confident that this team will build on the experience of all previous teams and carry on the reputation for excellence that U.S. Pastry Teams have enjoyed during the thirteen previous editions of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie.

We look forward to climbing on the podium and show the world that U.S. pastry chefs are some of the best in the world.

Team U.S.A participation to the 2015 Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie would not be possible without the generous and loyal support of sponsors like Paris Gourmet and Ravifruit.

For more information contact Club Coupe du Monde U.S.A. at www.pastryteamusa.com.

Topics: Events

Finalists Are Announced for 25th Anniversary Competition

Posted by Shirley Hall on Jan 17, 2014 3:37:35 PM


A Dozen Chefs to Create Exquisite Showpieces Based on the theme of Film Animation

Twelve rising stars, listed below, of the pastry world have been selected to compete for the coveted title of Pastry Chef of the Year. The theme of this year’s Paris Gourmet’s U.S. Pastry Competition is Film Animation.This exciting event will take place at the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York on March 2 from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, with the awards ceremony at 4:00 pm. All attendees of the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York are invited to see the illustrious showpieces created by America's leading pastry chefs.   Attendees will be dazzled by the exquisite showpieces by the following finalists:


Bruno Feldeisen, Four Seasons Hotel – Vancouver, BC

Kivanc Kaymak, FontaineBleu – Miami, FL

Eric Kalaboke, St. Regis - New York, NY

Pedro Gomez, Calihan Catering – Chicago, IL

Monica Ng, Sirio Ristorante - New York, NY

Arlety Estevez, L’Auberge Casino & Hotel - Baton Rouge, LA

Ruwan Kamburapolage, The Hurricane  - New York, NY

Pierre Poulin, Aureole - New York, NY

Yoshikazu Kizu, The Ritz Carlton - Orlando, FL

Cher Harris, The Hotel Hershey - Hershey, PA

Joseph Cumm, The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts

Kimberly Schielke, The Pluckemin Inn - Bedminster, NJ


Board members of the Societe Culinaire Philanthropique, one of the oldest and most prestigious chef associations in the world, will preside over the judging procedures. Contest awards will total over $10,000.00. The showpieces will remain on view for the duration of the Show.

About the NY Restaurant Show

The 21st International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York will bring together thousands of foodservice, restaurant and hospitality professionals from New York State,  and will feature more than 500 leading vendors, accompanying the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum education sessions and buzz building special events. This is the only event in New York exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry, sponsored by the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) and produced by Urban Expositions. The show will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, Sunday, March 2, 2014 through Tuesday, March 4. To learn more, visit http://www.internationalrestaurantny.com.


Topics: U.S. Pastry Competition

Mise En Place 12/12/2013

Posted by Bea Davis on Dec 12, 2013 5:30:00 PM

Meet the designer who transforms Gramercy Tavern in New York City into a holiday masterpiece.  Arriving at 1 am on Black Friday, she spontaneously creates the festive look that brings year end diners back annually.   [YouTube]

LA's Best Ramen Shops- Map [Eater LA]



And who could resist Sriracha: The Movie? [Trailer: Vimeo]

Topics: Restaurant News