The Golden Scoop Pastry awards held last night had everything you would want from a dessert awards: a victory parade of New York chefs, a dozen world-class desserts, and a seven-foot pastry chef–slash–drag queen named Chocolatina. The ceremony was held at the French Culinary Institute and awarded prizes in five categories, the most important of which, Best Dessert Menu, was won by Dominque Ansel of Daniel. The most intense competition, though, may well have been Most Innovative Dessert, a coveted trophy in today’s go-go world of rock-star experimental dessert chefs.
All three finalists were from New York: Alex Stupak of wd-50, utopian cake mogul Will Goldfarb of Room 4 Dessert, and the underdog, up-and-coming Bill Corbett of Anthos. “I didn’t even know I was up against those guys,” Corbett tells us. “When I saw them on the list, I was like, ‘Shit. There go my chances.’” Corbett prevailed, though, for his “Sesame on Sesame” dessert (sesame ice cream in a sesame shell, with whisky ice cream in the center, set atop a halvah crumble with a tahini ganache and black-sesame pasteli). Kelli Bernard of Amai Tea and Bake House won for Best Bakery Recipe, but the highlight for most of the participants, we’re told, was a pastry chef who wasn’t competing: Martin Howard of Brasserie 8, who, in his persona as the seven-foot Chocolatina, “Queen of the Dessert,” entertained the crowd in a musical interlude. Howard was the previous winner of the Best Dessert Menu award, but, as of now, there are no plans to have Ansel put on a drag performance next year. Of course, that could always change.