Nicole Kaplan Leaves Del Posto
Major developments on the pastry front: Del Posto’s head pastry chef, Nicole Kaplan, who soared to fame as the chef at Eleven Madison Park (and, incidentally, as the creator of the Shake Shack’s custard), has left the restaurant. We had heard that it was to head the dessert program at the St. Regis Hotel or, possibly, one of its restaurants, but the hotel denies this. (We’re still trying to reach Kaplan.) Del Posto GM Alfredo Ruiz confirms that Kaplan has been gone since January 1, but that her full staff is still in place and doing her menu as before. Co-owner Joe Bastianich says, “The split was amicable, and we wish Nicole nothing but the best in everything she does.” Bastianich added that the restaurant is looking at a couple of people and that, when the hire does happen, it will be “big news.”
Pastry Royalty Performs at SweetThe city’s top dessert chefs, from Johnny Iuzzini on down, delighted deep-pocketed foodies with their signature confections at Sweet on Friday night. Evian and Ferro Rocher flexed their marketing muscle, dispatching well-formed young people in tight clothes to represent their not especially sexy brands. The pastry aristocracy (Goldfarb, Iuzzini, and Stupak) were all present and accounted for, standing proudly behind space-age-looking creations that tasted even better than they looked. (Only Sam Mason wasn’t around, as someone had to man the stoves at Tailor.) At first we were sort of alarmed: There were obviously many more guests than had originally been intended, for the long, narrow, space, but since cake isn’t combustible, it all seemed safe enough. A body can only take so much chocolate ganache, Champagne, and high-powered pastry cooks crammed into one hall.
Daniel and Anthos Hit Big at Dessert AwardsThe 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.
Wacky Desserts by the Pastry All-StarsPastry chefs like Sam Mason (the man who’s sharing the experience of opening a new restaurant with us) are often on the cutting edge of New York cooking these days. The three chefs whose desserts we’re highlighting today all have major reputations. So if you go to wd-50 or Chanterelle tonight, make sure you leave some room. (Presumably that won’t be a problem at Room 4 Dessert.)