You might call Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore’s Executive Pastry Chef a Renaissance Chef, and you’d be right. Not only is he whipping up some of the most daring and delicious desserts in North America, he’s also showcasing his creations with professional-quality photos on his blog, Butter, Love & Hard Work. Or, he’s tweeting such mouthwatering morsels as, “Vanilla ganache, rhubarb, blueberry rhubarb sorbet, pretzel angel food, blueberry genoise, lemon. A good start but not an end result.”
Craving more, we asked the chef himself about the method behind his mastery of all things sweet:
Your blog is the ultimate eye candy — such gorgeous photos! What made you want to become a blogger?
CF: Well, at first I just wanted to track my progress and tell my story, but it really blossomed from there to incorporate my love of photography. There are a lot of food blogs out there, so I wanted to do something that felt more like high art, where no one would believe it was the chef taking the photos himself.
How did you get so good behind the lens?
CF: I got my first camera at the age of 18 and I’ve always loved photography. Once you add technology like Photoshop to the mix, I was hooked! I’m hoping to eventually develop the blog into more of an experience, with recipes and videos.
You’re known for your creativity, especially since being named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Pastry Chefs last year. What goes through your mind when you sit down to dream up a new dessert for Wit & Wisdom, PABU or LAMILL COFFEE?
CF: I strive to come up with things that I’ve never heard of or that shouldn’t quite make sense, logically. If something is a “trend,” it’s already old and I’ll push myself beyond it, because it’s harder to make something new.
What’s an example of a new creation you’re particularly proud of?
CF: Probably my Oreo Macaroon, which is a cookie riffing on another type of cookie — that’s the kind of thing that appeals to me. I was really happy when it got picked up by the Wall Street Journal for a story.
What’s one of your favourite desserts to make, and why?
CF: I love ice cream, because it’s so versatile and you can flavour it with anything. I was recently in Dubai on vacation with my family and we passed a spice mix in the souk that looked like black tea with jewels in it. Instantly, my mind just thought, “lemon flower” and I liked the way it sounded. So when I got home and had to create a new Spring item for PABU, I started working on this Lemon-Flower Ice Cream. I approached the flavours almost like you would a perfume, with different layers and notes. I think it’s the perfect, refreshing end to a meal.
What sweet treat will you reinvent next?
CF: I’ve been tinkering with bundt cakes. They’re so simple and homey but I want to give them an elegance. It’s time bundt cakes had their moment in the spotlight! - Beth Hitchcock