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Archive for November, 2010

One of the classiest cookbooks I have seen this year.

Sarabeth’s Bakery is one of the classiest cookbooks I have seen in a while.  Rizzoli certainly didn’t skimp on photo or paper quality either.  You’ll probably want to frame many of the stunning photos and hang them in your kitchen.  If you have a baker or pastry chef on your Hanukah or Christmas list – you simply can’t go wrong with this 320 page,  large format cookbook.  “Sarabeth’s Bakery: from my hands to yours” by Sarabeth Levine is really part coffee table book and part cookbook. (more…)

Eric Wolitzky's Bundt Cake at the New York Chocolate show

Last week at the New York Chocolate Show DessertBuzz caught up with Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant and pasty chef Eric Wolitzsky for a follow-up interview.  He was in the main kitchen theater about to make a chocolate gingerbread bundt cake for a standing-room-only crowd.

DessertBuzz: The last time we spoke I never even asked you how you became a pastry chef.

Eric Wolitzky: I was actually in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and after that, after I escaped, I decided, I had to embrace what was in my heart so I enrolled in the French Culinary Institute.  That’s basically, how I became a baker. (more…)

Top Chef Just Desserts finalists - Yigit, Morgan and Danielle

The season finale starts off provocatively with  Morgan calling Zac a “Fairy”.  Later, he calls Danielle an idiot for having pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner shell pistachios.  If he wins, he will have definitely bucked the karma trend.  Go here for this episode’s official theme song.


Zac Young showed attendees of the New York Chocolate Show how to make his Oreo dessert

Top Chef: Just Desserts’ Zac Young sat down with DessertBuzz at the New York Chocolate Show after just missing the final three last week.

DessertBuzz: So you have to be  one of the contenders for fan favorite and the $10,000 that comes with it.

Zac Young: I don’t think I am!

DB: Come on, who else would they vote for?

Zac Young of Top Chef: Just Desserts and Flex Mussels

ZY: Yigit!  He takes his shirt off!  Nobody wants to see me with my shirt off!

DB: Don’t be so sure.

ZY: There are a lot of great people on the show who could win it.  I voted for Eric for fan favorite actually.

DB: He really came off as being friends with everyone.

ZY: Eric also had a great progression too.   In his last episode, when he came back and he was like “I’m a chef! I’m a chef!” – I was watching that episode and I was crying all over again – Eric just has the biggest heart in the world.

DB: Were you happy with your TCJD outing?  Would you come back for the All Stars or something else if they invited you?

Yigit with his shirt on

ZY: I would definitely do it again knowing what I know now.

DB: For example, let’s say in January they say they are going to do another show– what would you do differently to prepare?

ZY: I would start memorizing my recipes now!  And maybe brush up on my cakes! [loud laghter].

DB: So there’s this big practical element to the competition, memorizing recipes, that most viewers probably never think about?

The non-chocolate version of Zac's dress.

ZY: Yeah, my strategy going on the show  was to memorize a lot of  bases.  So I had a base mousse, a base ice cream a couple of base cake recipes and then I just kind of flavored them all as I went along.

DB: Do you think the TCJD experience added to you as a chef or as a person?

ZY: Oh definitely, everyone had so many different styles – and we  did so many different things.  I picked up tricks and learned from every single contestant, I even picked up some stuff from Seth.

DB: Can we expect to see some of this new stuff on the menu at Flex Mussels?

ZY: Yes of course!

DB: Are a lot of people stoping by at Flex Mussels to meet you?

ZY: People are stopping by! They’re stopping me on the street, talking to me during dinner!  It’s weird man!   I mean, I cook!  As I said in my extended exit interview, it’s nice to know that people like me and that I can cook.  Going into the show I wasn’t sure if I had gotten to where I am because of my personality or because I’m good at networking or becasue I actually had something to back it up.  And I think the result of the show has shown that I can cook.  I think initially the other contestants thought “he’s just here for his personality” then after the first elimination where I was in top three, people said “crap, he can cook too!”

DB: What’s next for Zac Young–anything new in the works?

ZY: The next step is a donut shop.  We are opening a donut shop as part of the Flex Mussells franchise.  There will be more on that soon.

DB: Erik said he was rooting for Morgan.  Who are you rooting for in the final?

ZY: I’m rooting for Yigit.  My brother.

DB: Well, best of luck with the fan favorite–

ZY: - It’s being announced on my birthday!

DB: Wow, that’s pressure.

ZY: I know.  It’s really the only thing I want for my birthday – maybe that and a pony.

Follow Zac on Twitter.

Zac Young is the Executive Pastry Chef at Flex Mussels.  Go here for Zac’s first DessertBuzz  interview.

Fabio Viviani’s take: Part I is here.  Part II is here.  Part III is here.

Go here for an interview with contestant Eric Wolitzky from New York’s Baked bakery.

Go here for an interview with Dannielle Kyrillos.

For a recap of episode 9 go here.

For a recap of episode 8 go here.

For a recap of episode 7 go here.

For a recap of  episode 6 go here.

For a recap of episode 5 go here.

For a recap of episode 4 go here.

For a recap of episode 3 go here.

For a recap of episode 2 go here.

For a recap of episode 1 go here.

Go here for a look at Johnny Iuzzini.

Official Bravo Bios for the judges: Johnny Iuzzuni – Executive Pastry Chef Jean Georges, Hubert Keller – Owner/Chef Fleur De Lys, Gail Simmons – Food and Wine Magazine, Dannielle Kyrillos – Daily Candy

Go here for the DessertBuzz Top Chef: Just Desserts preview page.

New York Chocolate Show Day 1 highlights

Posted by Niko on November 11th, 2010

Vicki Wells The Pastry Chef at Buddakan created some great desserts

Pastry Chef Vicki Wells from Buddakan baked some great chocolate cakes at the Valrhona sponsored Demo.

Quady winery Essensia Dessert Wine goes great with dark chocolate desserts

I smuggled  a serving Vicki Wells chocolate cake out of the demo theater so I could do an impromptu pairing with some Essensia dessert wine. (more…)

Danielle puts the finishing touches on her cake

Quickfire: The chefs had to create  4 unique chocolates to represent 4 milestones in their lives.  Francois Payard is the guest judge.  Morgan worked for him in Brazil.  And of course Johnny worked for him in New York.  It’s a small pastry chef world.

After watching the first 10 minutes of the show – the DessertBuzz review team agreed that all 4 remaining chefs were being kind of obnoxious.  Interestingly, Danielle is the least obnoxious of the group during this period.  Will that be a sign that she has matured? (more…)

New York Chocolate Show Pastry Chef Demos - Francois Payard

Yesterday I recommended  some of my favorite vendors at this year’s chocolate show along with some insider tips.  After sleeping on it (yes, I’m always thinking about desserts awake or not) I realized that the best way to get your $28 worth is to attend the Pastry Demonstrations.   Where else can you see a live demonstration by Johnny Iuzzuni, Francois Payard and Nancy Olsen all in the same place? Don’t forget, you get to sample the results!  A complete schedule is on the Chocolate Show site (below) but here are the official DesssertBuzz recommendations: