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Everyone has to go sometime, you might as well be killed by dessert. Francisco Migoya's eclair

On Monday night DessertBuzz attended “Killed by Dessert”.  Six of the country’s top pastry chefs came together to create and serve their “favorite things” in a special meal to benefit Share Our Strength.  The evening was a unqualified success.  There was something really special about the contrast of the casual dining environment of an industrial kitchen and the fastidiousness of top-level chefs and their teams working as if they were feeding the president.

Bill Corbett, Executive Pastry Chef of The Absinthe Group explained the thinking behind the concept.

Killed by Dessert is the result of a conversation on Twitter between Lincoln Carson, Michael Laiskonis, Francisco Migoya and myself. We were discussing Lincoln’s top 5 favorite things (that he tweeted) at the time and thought about how we should write menus like that (of our favorite things). At the same time I was discussing a possible event idea with Brooks Headley and Christina Tosi because I was planning a trip to the east coast. The conversations kind of morphed into the idea of an event together and Killed by Dessert was born. We wanted to do an event that was exciting for us and totally our concept, so we pooled our respective resources and figured out how we could make it happen. It’s at Milk Bar’s kitchen because Christina has the luxury of a lot of space and was generous enough to host the event. Everyone has chipped in and used connections and skills to pull this thing together. It’s a true collaboration of chefs who just want to do something together, have a good time and share it with some people who enjoy dessert.

Michael Laiskonis, former Executive Pastry Chef of Le Bernardin has published the Killed by Dessert “manifesto” the public declaration of principles and intention that guided the event on his personal blog here.

I would describe the atmosphere among the attendees, who all paid $125 for the event, as “giddy”.   The crowd was a mix of journalists–mostly wearing their civilian hats; foodies–some, who drove in from as far away as Washington D.C.; and more than a few professional chefs.

The setting was very social–it’s only  natural to bond with your neighbors over a five-hour, 13 course meal with wine pairings. But even before saying a word to my table-mates I knew for certain we all had one thing in common–we all wanted to be Killed by dessert.

The courses: Passed Canapes (click on images to view larger size)

In addition to the twelve sweet courses there were seven savory courses–six offered at the beginning of the evening as passed canapés.  Later, another savory dish was offered as an “intermezzo” between the first and seconds sets of plated desserts.

Oasis at Three O’Clock in the Morning”

Falafel, Pine Nut Hummus, Flat Bread

Bill Corbett

“Brupper”

English Muffin, Black Pepper Butter, Caramelized Onions, Soft Poached Egg, Pea Shoots

Christina Tosi

“Wish That I Had Been Born Into It”

Latkes, Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Rose Champagne

Lincoln Carson

“Time”

Dashi-Braised Short Rib, Bone Marrow

Michael Laiskonis

Mole Negro de Oaxaca

Duck and Corn Tortillas

Francisco Migoya

The main courses: 12 dessert plates with a savory intermezzo course in

“Just Plain Vanilla”

Supported by Mandarin, Buddha’s Hand, Coriander

Lincoln Carson

Delamotte Rose Champagne


Butterscotch Semifreddo, Tony Style

Brooks Headley

Delamotte Rose Champagne


“Words”

Tarte Tropezienne a la Façon Thorne

Michael Laiskonis

Delamotte Rose Champagne


Napoleon Trimmings

Caramelized Puff Pastry Shards, Just-Made Mousseline Cream

Francisco Migoya

Rosa Regale, Brachetto


“Cornflake Cookie Dough Should Make Up 91% of Everyone’s Daily Intake, Not Just Mine”

Fresh Cookie Dough, Cookie Puree, Warm Cookie, Cereal milk

Christina Tosi

Domaine Weinbach, Gewürztraminer, Cuvee Theo 2009


“My Family’s Lack of a Culinary Legacy” aka“The Only Thing My Mom Ever Taught Me How to Make”

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Bill Corbett

Kracher Beerenauslese, 2008


“I was Too Picky of a Kid to Ever Understand PB&J”

Crock Pot Cake, Warm Pickled Strawberry Jam, Peanut Butter Halvah, Sweet Cream

Christina Tosi

Kracher Beerenauslese, 2008


INTERMEZZO

Spagetti with Piennolo Del Vesuvio tomatoes

(no they didn’t run out of bowls–everyone was served in a take out container)

Brooks Headley

“Peaks and Valleys”

Milk Chocolate, Tarragon, Hazelnut

Bill Corbett

Warre’s Otima 10 Year Tawny Port


Melanzane E Cioccolato, Tableside

Brooks Headley

Warre’s Otima 10 Year Tawny Port


Coffee Éclair

Francisco Migoya

Knob Creek Bourbon and Coffee Ice Cube

“The Beginning of the End, aka The Old Fashioned”

Orange, Toffee, Smoked Vanilla, Praline, Bourbon

Lincoln Carson

Knob Creek Bourbon and Coffee Ice Cube


“Ritual”

Caramel Coffee Parfait

Michael Laiskonis

Lamill Coffee

Anyone who doubts that these chefs were indeed trying to kill us needs to look no further than the goody bag.  After 19 thoughtful and involved courses of food with wine pairings you could forgive the organizers for not providing a goody bag.  I am certain that not even the most hard-core dessert lover (say someone who runs a dessert blog) was thinking about a few macarons or chocolates to seal the evening.  But this group of chefs, abiding by this line in the Manifesto “We are pastry chefs.  It is up to us to leave a pleasant last impression” wouldn’t think of stiffing guests of a special take-away.  My guess is they feel it’s the customer’s right to leave with something when dining at this level.

Goody Bag:

Chocolate-rum cannele, Palet d’Or

Goat cheese and acacia honey macaron, Butternut squash butter macaron, Candied ginger-gold apple and caramelized white chocolate confection

Lamill Coffee
Not pictured: Pecan praline chocolate bar, Black currant jelly

Bill Corbett, Executive Pastry Chef of The Absinthe Group

Brooks Headley, Executive Pastry Chef of Del Posto Restaurant

Christina Tosi, Pastry Chef/Owner of Momofuku Milk Bar

Francisco Migoya, Associate Professor of The Culinary Institute of America

Lincoln Carson, Corporate Pastry Chef of The Mina Group

Michael Laiskonis, former Executive Pastry Chef of Le Bernardin

Net proceeds from the dinner will benefit Share Our Strength.

Follow DessertBuzz on Twitter here. Michael Laiskonis’s last desserts from Le Bernardin were recently featured on Dessertbuzz.  Francisco Migoya has been featured on DessertBuzz many times-go here to read more.

22 Responses to “Killed by Dessert takes its first 50 victims”

Wow, what a dessert line up!

I’m still thinkIng about the best poached egg ever…it was impossible to choose a best dessert among these amazing choices. No room for a wafer thin mint on my deathbed.

[…] A Look at “Killed by Dessert!” (DessertBuzz) Ovenly to Go Brick and Mortar! (Grub St.) New Puddin’ Shop on St. Marks! (Fork in the Road) Le Bernardin’s New Pastry Chef! (Grub St.) Cupcake Cruise Press Event in NY This Sunday! (Cupcakes Take the Cake) […]

Wow great post what a dessert line up.

[…] first met Mr. Gawle at Killed by Dessert in January and recently visited him at Corton in Tribecca to try a number of his desserts and petit […]

[…] from New York City with five honorees including long-time DessertBuzz favorite Christina Tosi from Momofuku Milk Bar (and 2012 James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef).  The other four New York area honorees include, […]

[…] who created them. (Click on the photos for a larger image). Here’s the recap from the first Killed By Dessert in New York City. Brooks Headley and Michael […]

[…] the recap from the first Killed By Dessert in New York City. For live updates follow DessertBuzz on Twitter.  Also see my dessert column on Serious Eats New […]

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