Monday, December 27, 2010

"The power of a Pastry Chef."
Januaray 2011 issue of the New Yorker
Albert Adrià’s falling chocolate trunk filled with frozen chocolate powder, on a forest floor of lime-and-mint yogurt, with almond praline, puffed quinoa, and green-pistachio streusel.

Only in the Renaissance did sugar slowly, through the New World, become widely current. (“Sweet” became one of Shakespeare’s favorite adjectives: it appears seventy-two times in the sonnets alone, and the first writer who mentions them refers to his “sugar’d sonnets.

"Desserts are manipulated or not, they are! When you’re conceptualizing an entrée, a protein, you generally expect to get a piece of that thing intact. In pastry, it doesn’t occur. Pastry is the closest that a human being can get to creating a new food. A savory chef will look at puff pastry not as a combination of ingredients but as an ingredient in itself. Pastry is infinitely exciting, because it’s less about showing the greatness of nature, and more about transmitting taste and flavor. Desserts are naturally denatured food.” He looked at me sternly. “Birthday cake is the most denatured thing on earth.”

In search of the truth about the new sweets, the White House' pastry chef, Bill Yosses, I had been made to understand, was the Great Still Center of the American dessert. “Dessert is aspirational,” Yosses said, laying out his philosophy. “It’s the one part of the meal you don’t have to eat. It’s the purest part of the meal: the art part. But it’s also the greediest part, the eat-it-in-a-closet part. We don’t have to have it, and we do. When I was a kid, I would stuff my face with éclairs. I still would, I guess . . .” His voice trailed off. “The real question is this,” he said. “How did this thing, this spice, sugar, become a staple?

To answer the classic question, "Can the line between savory and sweet courses can ever be erased completely?" Adrià's response: "It can’t be that an American is asking me that! A hamburger with ketchup and Coca-Cola? That’s the most intense symbiosis of sweet and savory imaginable. It’s your cultural theme.”

No comments:

Post a Comment