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New Pastry & Baking "Focus" 1/17-1/23/06


tan319
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I'd like to hear about your "pars" when it comes to R&D. For example, while I have had my successes with various hydrocolloids and have a somewhat good idea on some percantage usages could you share 1 or 2 projects of yours that might have taken a while? What were your your stuggles and what did you learn? While I don't get discouraged when it takes me 12 times to develop a recipe using gellan gum I do have to scratch my head an go "what the &$%*&^!"

"I however must say, in order to keep things moving in a forward motion, there must be an exchange of ideas and tecniques. A forum ,if you will, to share thoughts and concepts."

very nice to hear. I'll share, while everyone might know this? When makeing a sabayon with agar, locust bean gum helps with water retention.

who's next?

Edited by xdrixn (log)

www.adrianvasquez.net

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Hi Sam, Thanks for doing this FOCUS.

Firstly, You graduated from Johnson & Wales Culinary School.

Did you take a general culinary course or did you take their pastry program?

Also,

What made you want to do pastry?

Is it in your "blood", so to speak?

Mom or dad a great cook or pastry person?

I did graduate from J&W in 94' and I only recieved my associates in Baking & Pastry Arts. I felt at the time that I wanted to be schooled in pastry, and absorb savory technique as I went along. (not necessarily saying savory is an easier field, just a bit less technical) I do plan on eventually becoming a better chef all around. I plan on crossing into the world where there are no boundaries between the two...As far as work history goes, I was lucky enough to be Jean Louis Palladins pastry chef in both Vegas as well as NYC. Those years were probobly my most precious as far as establishing a mentality for food. It was far from where I am now, but I am still rooted in everything Jean-Louis instilled in me. but I digress, as far as Mom and dad..............Mac & cheese is still king!

sam mason

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Hi Sam,  I see in a lot of your desserts that you puree and gel a lot of items that those of us that do a more traditional style of pastry would leave in a more recognizable form.  Such as your "carmelized apple" 

Do you feel that presenting them in these different forms makes them taste better or do you do them that way because you want them to be different in looks and texture than the original dessert may be. 

Is it all for looks or for taste or both.    Thanks Marilyn

To be honest, I just search for new ways to present things. Im sure it does'nt taste better than something prepared in more classic method... To be able to caramelize a perfectly seasoned piece of apple, and mimic the texture, yet be able to get any shape you want, Well .........thats why I come to work everyday.

sam mason

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i think one of the dilemmas i have had as a food professional (aside from the female chip on my shoulder :biggrin: ) has been embracing the "avant garde". i really appreciate the things that you are doing but i have been frustrated by it...maybe my own stubborness or laziness.

as you said this (creating desserts that taste good and are presented in new ways) is the reason you go to work everyday...do you actually have the time to experiment as much as you would like? what kind of sacrifices to you make in your life outside of work to keep up with your professional self (and other professionals)? do you not consider them sacrifices because this is your passion?

and so sorry for forgetting my manners earlier: Thank you for taking the time to post here. I think it really means a lot to all of us when professionals at your level take time out of their busy schedule to let us get into their heads!

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This is a work in progress from this evening... Im sure It will go through some changes, but over all, I'm happy with it.. The working title is........ 

Cocoa "caviar", beet foam, bitter orange

gallery_19243_2354_393762.jpg

Ok....

F---king nice!!!

Are the vegetable leaves Hyssop or something?

Truly beautiful!

2317/5000

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.As far as work history goes, I was lucky enough to be Jean Louis Palladins pastry chef in both Vegas as well as NYC. Those years were probobly my most precious as far as establishing a mentality for food. It was far from where I am now, but I am still rooted in everything Jean-Louis instilled in me.  but I digress, as far as Mom and dad..............Mac & cheese is still king!

Being a former D.C. guy ( born 'n' bred), and having been a big fan of Jean Louis's cuisine ( my first "

big" meal, probably) at the Watergate, I wanted to ask you, how did you end up getting the pastry chef position with Jean Louis Palladin?

Also, did you enjoy working in Las Vegas? And, what were some of the dishes you were doing at Napa in Las Vegas and Palladin in NYC?

Do any favorites stand out?

Thanks!

2317/5000

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This is awesome! I hope I'm not too late to join in the fun.

First off, you are a major inspiration, and WD~50 is my personal Graceland. When I'm struggling with new dishes I always ask myself "WWSMD?" Heh...seriously, though. Now I guess I can actually ask.

When you're dealing with cutting-edge techniques and rarely used ingredients, where do you start? Take the cocoa caviar you just posted above. I was messing around last year trying to make a "chocolate compote" component which was basically supposed to be tiny pearls of chocolate like that, but having absolutely no guidelines I basically ended up wasting alot of time and chocolate.

I guess my question is, do you have some set of resources you turn to for information on fringe techniques, or is it just a knack?

OK, I probably won't have another chance to get online again before the focus is over, so I have three more quick and specific questions:

1) If you could recomend one "unusual" piece of equiptment or ingredient that every pastry chef shoud get their hands on, what would it be?

2) What do you do to the olives in the black olive claufoutis? Do you soak them in something besides water or simple syrup? Whenever I try baking with olives, it falls waaay short of your mark.

3) You got a book in the works yet? You NEED to have a book!

Keep blazing the trail, man. I will be behind you in the distance, trying to keep up.

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Welcome chef Sam! Great stuff so far - thanks for spending your valuable time with us.

The cocoa caviar looks very cool. Is that tapioca, or some version of the fruit caviar using alginate?

By the way, I don't know if he will have time to stop by himself, but chef Chris Hanmer wanted to say 'hi'.

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This is a work in progress from this evening... Im sure It will go through some changes, but over all, I'm happy with it.. The working title is........ 

Cocoa "caviar", beet foam, bitter orange

gallery_19243_2354_393762.jpg

Ok....

F---king nice!!!

Are the vegetable leaves Hyssop or something?

Truly beautiful!

micro beet greens

sam mason

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Sam, you say that this is a work "in Progress". It looks beautiful and delicious. What further tweaking do you think it needs and why?

Thanks for doing this. It has been fun and very informative.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Welcome chef Sam! Great stuff so far - thanks for spending your valuable time with us.

The cocoa caviar looks very cool. Is that tapioca, or some version of the fruit caviar using alginate?

How are you doing the beet foam?

I ditto the cocoa caviar!

Still 'freakin.

2317/5000

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I have a quick question. How mnay desserts do you typically sell in a day and how many people are in the pastry department?

Thanks

On a typical evening , we sell approx.. 60-70 desserts. Which is about 80% in sales. I also offer three and five course dessert tastings, and they seem to be really popular as of late.

My staff consists of Me and two assistants, and I try to have one stagiere or extern in every day for an extra set of hands....

sam mason

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Welcome chef Sam! Great stuff so far - thanks for spending your valuable time with us.

The cocoa caviar looks very cool. Is that tapioca, or some version of the fruit caviar using alginate?

How are you doing the beet foam?

I ditto the cocoa caviar!

Still 'freakin.

The caviar is a locust bean- agar synergy and the beet foam is 99% beet juice and 1% soy protein, so you can guess how clean the flavor is..

sam mason

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Sam, you say that this is a work "in Progress". It looks beautiful and delicious. What further tweaking do you think it needs and why?

Thanks for doing this. It has been fun and very informative.

I guess I just feel like maybe it hasnt settled into a final dish/ pre-dessert. I could be wrong, it may not change at all.

sam mason

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This is awesome! I hope I'm not too late to join in the fun.

First off, you are a major inspiration, and WD~50 is my personal Graceland. When I'm struggling with new dishes I always ask myself "WWSMD?" Heh...seriously, though. Now I guess I can actually ask.

When you're dealing with cutting-edge techniques and rarely used ingredients, where do you start? Take the cocoa caviar you just posted above. I was messing around last year trying to make a "chocolate compote" component which was basically supposed to be tiny pearls of chocolate like that, but having absolutely no guidelines I basically ended up wasting alot of time and chocolate.

I guess my question is, do you have some set of resources you turn to for information on fringe techniques, or is it just a knack?

OK, I probably won't have another chance to get online again before the focus is over, so I have three more quick and specific questions:

1) If you could recomend one "unusual" piece of equiptment or ingredient that every pastry chef shoud get their hands on, what would it be?

2) What do you do to the olives in the black olive claufoutis? Do you soak them in something besides water or simple syrup? Whenever I try baking with olives, it falls waaay short of your mark.

3) You got a book in the works yet? You NEED to have a book!

Keep blazing the trail, man. I will be behind you in the distance, trying to keep up.

The caviar concept came from the technique that wylie was using for the oyster "pearls" on New Years Eve. It was no longer around so I started brainstoming for a replacement. The chocolate was just a perfect fit.

As far as equipment, I love my digital refractometer, it really makes for no errors in sugar systems. Poly-science immersion circulator, a must!.

The black olives are rinsed several times and cooked with sherry, long peppercorns, orange zest, and sugar slowly for three hours. They are then cooled and left in the syrup for one week. They slightly mimic cherries at this point with obvious olive flavor...

sam mason

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Hi Sam, thanks for answering my previous question. I would also like to know do you make all the components for your desserts fresh each day, or are you able to hold things over for a day. Such as your cocoa caviar. Do you make it early in the day or do you need to make it as each order comes in. I seem to live in the freezer and have learned to make a lot of things ahead because I must have so many items on hand at all times. Over 100 products and pieces of products. Is freezing or holding in the refrigerator an option for some of your things. Since they all look so delicate I suspect not, but I don't see how you and two other people could make it all every day. Thanks Marilyn

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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2) What do you do to the olives in the black olive claufoutis? Do you soak them in something besides water or simple syrup? Whenever I try baking with olives, it falls waaay short of your mark.

3) You got a book in the works yet? You NEED to have a book!

Keep blazing the trail, man. I will be behind you in the distance, trying to keep up.

The caviar concept came from the technique that wylie was using for the oyster "pearls" on New Years Eve. It was no longer around so I started brainstoming for a replacement. The chocolate was just a perfect fit.

As far as equipment, I love my digital refractometer, it really makes for no errors in sugar systems. Poly-science immersion circulator, a must!.

The black olives are rinsed several times and cooked with sherry, long peppercorns, orange zest, and sugar slowly for three hours. They are then cooled and left in the syrup for one week. They slightly mimic cherries at this point with obvious olive flavor...

Sam, are you doing the olives sous vide or in a pot?

Also, IS there any chance of a book?

Thanks!

2317/5000

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You might have noticed the change in the topic title as far as dates go.

That's because Sam has been above and beyond cool and agreed to hang with us for a couple of more days, thru Saturday or so.

So we all have a bit more time to ask some questions, do some brainstorming ( alright, pick HIS brain) maybe get to see a few more pix, it's wide open.

I'm sure I speak for Wendy, Neil and Steve and all of our members who are participating that we can't thank him enough and appreciate his time greatly!

2317/5000

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Sam

you are a bad ass

would you elaborate on the "soy protein" that is used in the beet foam????

thanks for all you knowledge

sean

I know this one! What is "lecithin", Alec?

Thanks for answering my questions! Here's one more.

Just out of curiosity, what are some ideas you've fooled around with but weren't able to perfect (yet)?

Also, I'd love to see more pics, preferably ones that haven't made it up on sammasonnyc.com or wd-50.com.

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