As the pastry chef for L’Espalier, Jiho Kim has spent many years in the kitchen. Starting as a savory cook, he realized he was drawn towards pastry. Stating that fate brought him into the world of pastry, Kim still enjoys savory cooking, hoping to one day own his own restaurant where he can create a meal from start to finish.
By Brigitte Charest – Photographed by CRServices
What makes a pastry chef a pastry chef – did you study baking and pastry arts? Being a pastry chef won’t be attractive for everybody. For me, I was a savory cook but whenever I went into the pastry kitchen, I felt “this is what I want to do.”
Are there current trends/techniques in pastry? If so, what is trendy in the pastry world right now? Yes, the new trend is to take a twist on classic desserts. We use new ideas and play with new textures, a mix in temperatures, artful presentations and adding savory touches to desserts that people recognize. We use hydrocolloids to improve texture and presentation so the basic pastry techniques are changing – these allow us to do gels, foams and spherification.
Do you have a particular style when it comes to your desserts? Yes, to create twists on the classic desserts people know already. For example, I recently had a version of sachertorte on the menu with the cake complemented with a mango gel, a chantilly cream and chocolate crumbs. It didn’t look like a traditional sachertorte; it had a lot of similar flavors but was presented in a new and different way.
How often to you re-vamp/create new dishes? Our menu is always seasonal; it changes each season if not more often. I love to work with whatever fruits are in season but my specialty is working with molecular gastronomy techniques and using those techniques to craft creative desserts.
Do you have a vision or goal in mind when you create a dessert? Do you think some desserts complement a meal more than others? My goal is for guests to enjoy the desserts – that is all I want. I have a lot of guests who love my desserts and that is all that matters. I think some desserts complement a meal better than others, but I aim to make all of our desserts a fun and thoughtful way to end a fantastic meal at L’Espalier.
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