Working alongside Chef Jason Santos, Pastry Chef Nicole Harrington of Blue Inc. creates desserts that are just as bold and whimsical as the Chef himself. Taking in interest in pastry from her grandmother as a young girl, Harrington enjoys surprising her guests with desserts most have never heard of, but will never forget!
By Brigitte Charest – Photographed by CRServices
How/when did you find yourself gravitating toward pastry? I’ve known how to cook forever, in high school though, I took up a culinary program. I liked being artsy and creative. I knew from that class that I wanted to attend culinary school.
What is your specialty? Do you have a particular style when it comes to your desserts? I first make my desserts taste good and then make it look cool. I want my guests to be surprised, and want to finish it. Pastry chefs have to compete with the rest of the meal. We have to work hard to get the guest to even want to see a menu, let alone order after a meal. So, when a guest does order, we want them to be overly pleased.
Are there current trends in pastry? If so, what are they now? Are you using them? I see a lot of molecular gastronomy in dessert. I do like to try new things but I hate to see something unnecessary on a dessert. You don’t want it to go over the top for the sake of going over the top, not at the expense of flavor and taste.
Do you have a vision or goal in mind when you create a dessert? I like to start with one ingredient and build the dessert around that. For example, start with avocados, what goes well with avocados? Raspberries. What goes well with raspberries? Chocolate. And so on.
What is your favorite dessert on the menu? Right now, the peach clafloutis because most people have never heard of it and it is delicious.
What is something an amateur baker could make to impress guests at a house warming party? I think it is simpler than you think. Just make something traditional and add a little touch or sauce to make it unique. Try chocolate cake with salted caramel.
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