Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Chris Roswog Pastry Chef The Iron Horse Inn
While selling gelato and sorbet to Cincinnati's top restaurants I have been fortunate to meet some very passionate and unique individuals. Most of the time my routine is one of quick pace and structure. Deliver the goods and get on to the next stop. Very few kitchens are quiet past 11:00am. While preparing for service not many people have time to BS but sometimes they do and I always learn something cool when we do. Chefs and others in the kitchen work weird hours. If I deliver early in the morning they are not even on site. So the other day I invited Pastry Chef Chris Roswog to stop by for an formal interview. I want to get to know the people who use Madisono's on a daily basis, those who make the decisions when it comes to feeding your sweet tooth. Chris is the pastry chef at The Iron Horse Inn located in Glendale. It is located just across the street from our production commissary. This is the first interview so stay tuned for more in the future.
When Chris entered the kitchen he was carrying a unique box. It looked like a little James Bond/ Super Spy/ Techno thingy. When he opened it up it contained a small part of his watch collection. Chris loves watches and we spent some time looking them over. His collection is very impressive. I asked Chris a few scripted questions and here is what he had to say.
1. Why pastry?
Chris has been cooking since he was 5. When he entered culinary school he knew he wanted to do pastry. "Pastry keeps you off the line." Chris conveyed that pastry/dessert allows you to get the last word in so to speak. It is a farewell to the dining experience and he wants you to leave on a high note. Pastry allows him to express that.
2. What is your favorite tool?
"My hands" "You can experience everything from temperature to texture." These are very important in pastry. So much relies on this that nothing cab substitute the hands.
3. What are your favorite ingredients?
"Chocolate, nuts and good eggs." "Eggs are essential in what I do every day." Chris loves the versatility of eggs and the use of nuts, especially macadamia nuts.
4. What was you most inspired creation?
After a short pause Chris shared with me a creation he did at Prima Vista for Valentines Day. Two pieces of puff pastry cut into rectangles with homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream and Red Raspberry sorbet. He has also found inspiration in birthday cakes. He is especially fond of The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Chris has spent years coming up with unique cake creations of his own. Often times it cannot able to be shared on a restaurant menu but with family and friends.
5. Where has pastry been and where is it going?
"Pastry has never been better due to the ever increasing availability of ingredients." "There are so many more options like single origin chocolates." Chris feels that it has come a long way do to this explosion of ingredient options for chefs and will only continue to get better. One thing that he is not sure of is the trend of meshing ingredients that just don't go together. There are tendencies for chefs to use these ingredients to a creative end that is questionable in Chris's opinion. He thinks that the classics are safe and will always have a place in pastry.
6. If you were not a pastry chef what would you be doing instead?
"I would be a race car driver."
7. What are your personal ambitions outside of your pastry profession?
8. What are some compelling reasons why someone should not skip the dessert course when dining out?
"We desire things in life. Like dessert." "We crave the sweet so fill that need." Dessert is part of the dining experience and without it isn't complete. "There are always healthy options on most menus so don't skip just on calorie counting or diet concerns." Chris conveyed to me that there are things in life that you might not be able to make at home due to lack of time, skill, or resources and dessert is a chance to experience those things. "If you are to full consider boxing it for later."
9. How do you use Madisono's?
At the present time Chris is offering 3 gelato flavors served individually in mini espresso cups paired with cookies. The flavors change every 10 days or so. The also have a brownie dessert that is served with the French Vanilla gelato. Chris assures me that as the seasons change so will the dessert options. That the best way to find out what he is doing with Madisono's is to stop by the Iron Horse Inn for dinner, or lunch.
I had a great time getting to know Chris better and I am grateful that he chooses to serve Madisono's with his customers.
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