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tan319

Our Third Pastry & Baking FOCUS...

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First, I'd like to welcome everybody to the Pastry & Bakings Third FOCUS!!!

We're thrilled to have Pastry Chef Will Goldfarb of Manhattans 'Room 4 Dessert' with us!

     

I started hearing about Will Goldfarb when I was getting into the

      whole "new wave" of pastry chefs, and of course, his work with Paul Liebrandt at     

Papillon, the much talked about though short lived restaurant in New York, one of       

the many culinary victims of the events post 9/11.

      Always intriguing with his flavor combinations, I kept track of his

      work as he worked with Morimoto in Philidelphia and others (as you'll

      read) and then at CRU, in NYC.

      It seemed right around then he became a member of the 'Gullet and I've

      been very lucky to have developed a friendship with him.

      He's been a great participant here on eGullet, and has always been

     generous with his knowledge and passion for pastry and whatever else

     is going on, with me and members.

     As you'll read here, Will has been doing this pastry gig for awhile,

     with ups AND downs, stages at El Bulli and at Gerald Mulot, but his

     much acclaimed 'Room 4 Dessert' dessert restaurant/bar/soon to be

     breakfast place too, located in Manhattan, NYC., has been a smash from

     day one!

     A few links to look over

New York Times Review

 

Room 4 Dessert Website

  

New York Magazine Review

New York Magazine (Third Item Down)

eGullet New York Forum

     Just Added; Pastry Art & Design Top 10 Chef Award!

      www.willpowder.net

willpowder.net carries many of the products you've read about here

in   P&B   like  methycelluose, lecithin, sodium alginate, etc.

    I feel very lucky to have Will here to do a FOCUS with us!

    A short talk with Will and then feel free to ask Will any questions, etc.

    I'm sure he'll answer when he isn't putting up a plate!

______________________________________________________________________

tan319:So, how did you get into pastry and desserts?

Will Goldfarb: First I graduated from Duke

University in 97, then I went to Paris and completed the pastry cycle

at the Cordon Bleu on the expedited schedule, basic in three weeks,

intermediate in 5 weeks, and advanced in 10 weeks (they refused to

accelerate to advanced) ""

tan319:

Yeah, I meant did you or were you going to reg college when you got the bug...

W.G: Regular college

I was working always from high school foh

parking cars, tending bar, busboy, food runner

etc.

I started cooking but, I was always attracted to the precision of pastry.

My first job cooking was chopping parsley, then hot apps in Paris, followed by chopping onions in Florence.

tan319: Did you do any stages in France, New York, etc.? When did the whole Spanish thing blow up for you?

W.G.: I had only one pastry stage before I went to Spain, and had only been cooking for one year and a half

When I went to Spain, I was actually disappointed to learn that I had been placed in the pastry department, as I thought I would be in the kitchen, but then got Alberts book ('Los Postres de El Bulli', by Albert Adria) which had just been released, and realized that this was the more impressive of the two bodies of work.

W.G.: My first day in Paris I walked into Gagnaire and asked the maitre d for an "apprentissage" with my Harraps dictionary under my arm. He said to try Guy Savoy. Much of my learning in Paris came from books and travel to great restaurants like Marc Veyrat, Jean Marie Amat at The Saint James, Troigros, Pre Catalan, Guy Savoy, Cibreo, Neichel, El Bulli: all between June 1997 and June 1998.

I consider my first stage to be at Nana's in Durham, North Carolina in spring 1997 for Scott Howell, but I was really just picking thyme, spinach, and chopping parsley between class and my busboy shifts.

My stage in Paris summer 1998 became a fullblown job offer at Yvan, a small bistro off the Champs Elysees, under the former patissier for Guy Savoy. He was looking for a summer vacation, and I was introduced my friends of my parents in early July 1997; perfect match. He hated the fact that I was a big clumsy American and without any pastry knowledge, but liked the fact that I was foolish enough to make a full service for a week (7 doubles) by myself. Upon return from his vacation he banished me to the savory kitchen. Sauteeing foie gras (which of course I had never seen) I was able to earn a salary and a contract offer, which of course meant to me that I had learned enough to leave.

I was arranged a stage at Patisserie Mulot in Paris. In my opinion the best shop in Paris. Here I was slammed into a real pastry shop and buried with work and hours. I learned how to separate eggs quickly, because I needed 600 before 7am, and the work day started at 6. I was waking everyday at 4:45am to the Jackie Brown soundtrack, making a latte in my cramped mouse filled Paris flat, and walking in the dark to work. I didn't see the sun for two months...

tan319: How did you make your way to El Bulli to stage?

W.G.: While at Mulot, I started working as a private chef for a wealthy Swiss American who took me to Ramatuelle. I had already declined my admission to law school, and secured a stage at Cibreo. I drove to Florence and slept in my car for a few days because the restaurant wasn't open, and began to cut a lot of onions. Actually we practically pureed raw red onions by hand to make the base of all our food, all of which was cooked from scratch everyday. everything was based on soffrito, which meant we needed 1 bus tub of minced mirepoix each morning before 10 (the day started at 9).

When immigration came one night and I was hiding in the office i called over to el bulli, they were celebrating because it was the last day of the year in which they had been awarded 3 stars. they agreed to let me come the following year. they had previously declined in spring 98, and summer 98. So I went there Feb 99.

tan319: Where did you work before Atlas?

W.G. When I came back from Bulli, I began running the pastry kitchen at The Ryland Inn, but since I had been offered 2 months in the Taller, I went back to Spain in 00 spring. They were surprised that i declined to stay at the restaurant but I wanted to find something better and drove around Europe for weeks, not finding anything, and called Cheong Liew at the Grange, and he said to come down. so I bought a 1 way ticket to Australia.

Cheong sent me to Tim Pak Poy next at Claudes, but I missed my dinner reservation and ended up doing his dishes for a month while working construction in the days. From there I got a job in garde manger for Tetsuya.

I came back again to run the pastry kitchen and menu development for Craig in 00 winter.

I briefly ran the Cap Juluca pastry department in Spring 01, then went to St Barts to put a book together, and Capri for Stravaganza Mediterranea. That summer I redid the kitchen in my friends bar in Paris.

tan319: LOL!

W.G.: When I came back to the states I started teaching the LSAT exam

preparation because I couldnt find any interesting cuisine, I came

across Paul's stuff and asked him if he needed someone. I started

working Garde Manger. "

tan319: So were you just doing Garde Manger? at Atlas?

I've always been under the impression ( all my own, I suppose) that

you did pastry at Atlas, left, reconnected to do Papillion.

W.G.: Just garde manger

The supremely talented Sam Mason was the pastry chef before, during, and after my time there.

Paul and I left Atlas together to open Papillon

tan319: It must have felt great to get the three stars from the New York Times for Atlas.

W.G.: Before I arrived, Paul was awarded three stars from Grimes. Youngest chef in NYC to do so.

tan319: Did you feel like it was getting ready to explode?

W.G. Yes, but the market wasn't ready to bear that style of cooking

especially post 9/11.

After 911 we found an interesting option to take over Papillon, and he

asked me to be the pastry chef.

tan319: How long was Papillon open for with you, and Liebrandt?

W.G.: Maybe six months.

tan319: After Papillon, you consulted and such for awhile, correct?

W.G. Morimoto in Philly, went to Aquavit for one month, went to Maine to the Castine Inn for Tom Gutow for the summer season and to regain my bearings.

I was living in a trailer park with my wife, then was in Philly by December 02.

Went to do a weekend workshop on pastry techniques for Vetri and stayed to do a tasting for Morimoto

Nailed it and went to Philly

Simultaneously I was interviewing for the pastry position at TFL, interestingly

I was flown out to Napa...

tan319:So, how did you hook up with Shea Gallante and become pastry chef at CRU?

Did you know him beforehand or did he know you?

W.G.: Winter '04 I was looking for a move, my wife was commuting from Philly to NYC and the strain was too much.

I cooked for Brad at Mary Elaines at the Phoenician and was offered the job and my wife told me that if i went to Phoenix I could stay

alone.

I came to Philly and had a message from Shea Gallante, of whom I

knew was at Bouley, had heard great things about, and the next morning

in 'Dining In' ( New York Times) I read about his deal at Cru.

I arranged a tasting at Bouley with Bouley and we began to work on the

restaurant.

tan319: Was the concept of the restaurant different in the "blueprint" stages

then it ended up being?

W.G.:: I think Shea has developed a very successful restaurant, it's working

out well for him...

tan319: Not to open up old wounds so to speak but... It surely seems like you

got a lot of heat for "being different" in your approach to dessert,

EVEN though you offered both "modern" & "classic" items on your menu.

It was like you were the lightning rod for negative criticism, both in

print and on the net.

It had to have perplexed and maybe even hurt you.

W.G.: I was surprised at the outrage over vanilla ice cream

I was upset that at least I wasn't recognized for cooking things perfectly.

Even Shea said he had yet to read one criticism about the taste or technique.

It was personal and mean spirited, but it was a great experience

I was basically destroyed professionally

and I was unable to provide for my family doing things the way I knew how.

It was not a particularly reassuring time but, it was a great time to be with my daughter and if I had to do it over again I would do it exactly the same...

tan319: Even though you participate on eG, do you have any thoughts on " culinary

criticism" on a whole and on the 'net in general?

W.G. Culinary criticism can be positive, as the word does not imply negativity. there are thoughtful writers and reporters, but there are also those with no knowledge or passion, just ego.

tan319: So, it seemed as though you took a bit of a sabbatical after CRU.

We spoke via email a few times and you had a few irons in the fire, it

seemed, specifically you were thinking about your own dessert restaurant...

(...apparently you then fell into the right partners via craigslist)

W.G.: It really started to come together the first week of October '05

tan319: craigslist sounds like it was a wonderful thing!

Wish I could navigate it decently!!!!

tan319: So, maybe elaborate a bit more on how 'Room 4 Dessert', your new and much praised venture come to fruition?

WG: I made contact with the owners, soon to be partners, over a craigslist posting, and after some early interviews, we had a deal by Sunday October 27, 2005

Nov 15 we had a lease, and Jan 15 we opened for business.

tan319: Was it expensive to get off of the ground?

W.G. No. The entire buildout was done for 20000, and the kitchen was equipped for 14k, all of the acoutrements were sourced for less than 6g (Rosenthal, Stolze, Guy Degrenne, chilewich)

tan319: If you can, as many chefs who use different techniques or ingredients

or equipment get branded "mad scientists", can you tell us what you

have in your kitchen?

W.G.: A microwave, a cheese melter, an Avanti freezer, a Paco Jet, a minipack vacuum sealer, a Polyscience circulating water bath, and two induction burners.

Also a Vitaprep, Champion juicer, Robot Coupe, and a Hamilton Beach mixer.

A half tray Sodir convection oven. one whisk, spatula, gram scale, .1 gram scale, chinois, 8 pots, 12 spoons, you get the picture.

Both traditional and maybe a bit different from the normal

tan319: Had you been thinking about your initial menu for a long time?

W.G.: It is a compilation of classics, new ideas, overriding philosophy and

synthesis of cuisine/happy people

tan319: Any particular inspirations?

W.G.: Davide Scabin, Ruben Garcia, Kasper Kurdahl

Albert ( Adria), Herve This, Gagnaire

tan319: Were/are/your partners or investors, etc. (?) doing most of the

business stuff while you were doing the menu conception or what?

W.G.: , Choosing a designer, accounting, funding, lease, legal yes

Me: contractor, equipment, staffing, menu, flatware, accoutrements,

paper, photography, web design, menu, sourcing, ordering, etc

tan319: Did you guys have to get a liquor license?

W.G.: Transfer of liquor license, but still have to apply

tan319: Having been a restuarant pastry chef, how did/does this differ?

W.G. Direct guest interaction

Never having an off day

No emotion during service, etc

Always on stage

Service complications: order taking, place setting/clearing, drink service, etc

____________________________________________________________________________

The threads open now for questions, comments and so forth.

As I said Will will get to the computer when he has a chance.

hopefully, he'll be able to stick around until Friday, the 23rd or so.

Please, a warm welcome for Will Goldfarb! :biggrin:


2317/5000

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Hi Will...

One thing I wanted to ask since I just became aware of the willpowders.net site is, are the recipes on the site all from Room 4 Dessert?


2317/5000

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Is methyl celulose the generic term for gellan? If not, whats the difference (in application, I mean)?

EDIT: Relavence being that I bought some last time I was there, while buzzed, and missed any pertinent info pertaining too it.


Edited by Sethro (log)

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I was going to write both Ted and Will personal messages, instead I'd like to say what I have to say in public. I think this is a F__ing great focus! Totally open, totally what I want to know and read.

Thank you so much Will for continuing to try to communicate to all and for being kind to educate others while you work! I will be checking out your site and I'm really excited that your selling hard to find ingredients and apparently sharing recipes too. Doing that is auesome, selfless and really working to advance our profession, thank-you.

Personal thoughts......questions.........I guess I don't understand your mind and how you go from Duke U to modern pastry. It's a HUGE leap in my head. And perhaps it addresses a current thread about male verse female pastry chefs.......... For me (for example) I've been working pastry for a long time and never feel like I've perfected my skills enough to leap into molecular pastry science. Do you ever feel not grounded enough in the basics to get the positions you've gotten? How did you become so confident to leap to the future with-out spending alot of time on the past/classic pastry?

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Will,

Brilliant idea selling the hydrocolloids. Can you elaborate on your French Laundry experience?

adrian


www.adrianvasquez.net

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Hi Will...

One thing I wanted to ask since I just became aware of the willpowders.net site is, are the recipes on the site all from Room 4 Dessert?

they are from my recipe base

some are new for the site

many are used here

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Is methyl celulose the generic term for gellan? If not, whats the difference (in application, I mean)?

EDIT: Relavence being that I bought some last time I was there, while buzzed, and missed any pertinent info pertaining too it.

to the best of my knowledge it is a distinct product

i find the properties to be quite different,

however i am sure that in some cases one of the many methylcellulose varieties can perform similar functions as one of the gellans

probably nhumi from cpkelco can help illuminate

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I was going to write both Ted and Will personal messages, instead I'd like to say what I have to say in public. I think this is a F__ing great focus! Totally open, totally what I want to know and read.

Thank you so much Will for continuing to try to communicate to all and for being kind to educate others while you work! I will be checking out your site and I'm really excited that your selling hard to find ingredients and apparently sharing recipes too. Doing that is auesome, selfless and really working to advance our profession, thank-you.

Personal thoughts......questions.........I guess I don't understand your mind and how you go from Duke U to modern pastry. It's a HUGE leap in my head. And perhaps it addresses a current thread about male verse female pastry chefs.......... For me (for example) I've been working pastry for a long time and never feel like I've perfected my skills enough to leap into molecular pastry science. Do you ever feel not grounded enough in the basics to get the positions you've gotten? How did you become so confident to leap to the future with-out spending alot of time on the past/classic pastry?

thank you for the kind words

i always feel not grounded enough

thats why we actually focus more on the basics here as we are a new restaurant

for every caviar bulli recipe, we will be working on pain de mie from ducasse, sable from herme, and ganache from wybauw, to name just a few examples

i think there is a fine line between confidence and foolishness

i try to straddle that line

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Will,

Brilliant idea selling the hydrocolloids.  Can you elaborate on your French Laundry experience?

adrian

thank you

i was lucky enough to be invited for a tryout for the TFL job, when TK was ready to make the NY move. It was a great experience and I was honored to serve desserts there the week I was there. Both Thomas and Sebastien are great figures in the industry in my opinion. Even though I didnt receive an offer, I maintain a strong relationship with both chefs and am very honored that they even considered me.

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Will,

I still have yet to make it in...I promise I will soon!!

My question is regards to if you may see yourself approaching your desserts differently in a dessert bar setting (as it is at R4D) than in a (excuse this term here.) "formal restaurant setting".....

Do you feel your desserts are conceived differently in the setting you have now, than say when you were working at Ryland Inn, or Cru for that matter.

Thanks

Pete

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Will,

  I still have yet to make it in...I promise I will soon!!

My question is regards to if you may see yourself approaching your desserts differently in a dessert bar setting (as it is at R4D) than in a (excuse this term here.) "formal restaurant setting".....

Do you feel your desserts are conceived differently in the setting you have now, than say when you were working at Ryland Inn, or Cru for that matter.

Thanks

Pete

i am still very early in the development of any style, so in that way, i am always conceiving somewhat differently

the main difference is we are preparing everything in front of the guest

so that has to be a main consideration in the assembly

here the target was very clear

be good and make things that people like

that said, my general self destructive mischief maker side usually creeps in anyway

and what i consider to be pretty routine is apparently still interesting

either that or were just a media construction...

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Will, how the heck did you equip a kitchen for 14K? I understand used equipment but still, that's one heck of an accomplishment...........or your working with your hands tied from a lack of equipment..........

Any chance you'd post some photos of your place and of your work.........I'd LOVE, LOVE to see it!!!

Also, how many people do you have in the kitchen and how much front of the house staff? Who's running the front end, they must be well seasoned cause it sounds like they're holding up their end...or are you also involved in the front?

Aprox. how many covers are you doing daily? ......and how long will you stay with your current menu.......are you seasonal or do you roll out specials when you've got something your proud of?


Edited by Wendy DeBord (log)

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I second the photos, if you have the time :biggrin:

A couple more questions for you...

Are you using sous vide much?

Do you have a blast freezer for the Paco Canisters, and how many sorbets and ice creams is R4D doing?

No Taylor or ColdElite?

Thanks!


2317/5000

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Will, how the heck did you equip a kitchen for 14K? I understand used equipment but still, that's one heck of an accomplishment...........or your working with your hands tied from a lack of equipment..........

Any chance you'd post some photos of your place and of your work.........I'd LOVE, LOVE to see it!!!

Also, how many people do you have in the kitchen and how much front of the house staff? Who's running the front end, they must be well seasoned cause it sounds like they're holding up their end...or are you also involved in the front?

Aprox. how many covers are you doing daily? ......and how long will you stay with your current menu.......are you seasonal or do you roll out specials when you've got something your proud of?

for kitchen i was very careful to order only things i had a specific end use for; i also used about 50 different equipment purveyors to get the best prices,

all the equipment was new

i am certainly forced to be creative without some toys i would like, but at the same time, minimalism is kind of nice to force you to refocus on what you really need.

re photos, i can post some links

i still dont know how to post photos on eg

im not particularly savvy

in the kitchen i have robert truitt, who cooks everything

pamela yung, the former graphic designer, who is a stagiare

i have a dishwasher and a bartender

i do not have a service staff other than these people, the front and back is really the same

i added a morning guy, but he prefers nights, so im working open and close frequently

early in the week we do from 30-50 covers, or 1-2 turns

friday and saturday we can do from 90-130 or 3.5-5 turns

the menu changes every 90 days

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I second the photos, if you have the time :biggrin:

A couple more questions for you...

Are you using sous vide much?

Do you have a blast freezer for the Paco Canisters, and how many sorbets and ice creams is R4D doing?

No Taylor or ColdElite?

Thanks!

everything we do is either prepared or stored under vacuum

i have a ge home chest freezer for 149

no taylor or coldelite

we generally run 6 flavors and 2 granites,

we had to calculate per the cubic inches of the avanti tabletop freezer

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there should be some incredible photos coming out in art culinaire fall issue

all based on colors

if someone can show me how to upload, i have some fun shots

otherwise just gots ta wait

wg

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I have to put my 2 cents in.

I had the extreme pleasure of dining at room 4 dessert with a few of my Savory Chef Friends after a recent trade show and we could not have had a better time. Will you are a most gracious host and very talented craftsman. The food , taste and presentation were truly awesome. Not to say the drinks are out standing. My friend Howard had a cocktail made with that incredible Rum you have and mango puree, Will tell me the name of it again and where to buy it.

To give you folks an idea of what to expect, it felt more like having a discussion about food, science, work history all over a really cool meal.

Will, I wish you much success and if you get the chance to come out to Long Island I would be happy to show you Sweet Karma


"Chocolate has no calories....

Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence

SWEET KARMA DESSERTS

www.sweetkarmadesserts.com

550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554

516-794-4478

Brian Fishman

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thank you very much for your kind words

pyrat rum "the pistol"

from anguilla

mango planter in the style of priscilla

mango puree

tarragon

meyer lemon juice

pyrat rum xo

amaretto

pinch sugar

splash tonic

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there should be some incredible photos coming out in art culinaire fall issue

all based on colors

if someone can show me how to upload, i have some fun shots

otherwise just gots ta wait

wg

Hi Will!

Can you elaborate a bit more on the A.C. issue/article and when it should hit the streets ( might have to finally subscribe!)

What kind of vac system are you guys using?

BTW: the 'Pistol" sounds out of sight!


2317/5000

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What are a few standouts from the Morimoto days, do you have any favorites from that gig?

Also, what kind of dessert menu were you doing at the Castine Inn?

Thanks!


2317/5000

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there should be some incredible photos coming out in art culinaire fall issue

all based on colors

if someone can show me how to upload, i have some fun shots

otherwise just gots ta wait

wg

Hi Will!

Can you elaborate a bit more on the A.C. issue/article and when it should hit the streets ( might have to finally subscribe!)

What kind of vac system are you guys using?

BTW: the 'Pistol" sounds out of sight!

the ac issue will be the fall (i hope)

we made a menu based on color

minipack by torre

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What are a few standouts from the Morimoto days, do you have any favorites from that gig?

Also, what kind of dessert menu were you doing at the Castine Inn?

Thanks!

raspberry sorbet with fried shallots and sesame oil

fresh tofu with caviar and lychee sorbet

yellow miso chocolate cream

endive salad with caramel ice cream

probably Robert Truitt remembers better than me

Maine was classics based: lavender creme brulee; walk through the summer garden...

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Good news,

Will is going to be here thru the weekend, we're going to try to get some pix up too.

Please don't be shy to ask a question or say hello.


2317/5000

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Will,

On another thread, you stated that you have five ways of categorizing pastry/pastry chefs. They are the following:

"ingredient

technique

philosophy

love

solitude"

These are also listed on your website. Can you be a little more explicit in explaining what these terms mean for you? They might seem obvious, but they might have more meaning for you and how you approach your work and it might give us some insight into your style as a pastry chef.

You've obviously come a long way in your career. Do you feel that it is worth it to have opened your own shop? The time commitment is more than anyone else could demand from you, you are more responsible financially, etc. Do you believe in burn-out and do you ever foresee yourself experiencing it?

edited to add: Thank you again for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule to answer our questions and for satisfying our curiosity! We truly appreciate it and I congratulate you and wish you great success with Room4Dessert and Willpowder.


Edited by alanamoana (log)

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Hey Will, for starters I was curious outside of the standard frozen outside softinside have you been doing anything fun with your anti-griddle? I have been fooling around with mine but any direction would be appreciated.

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