Chris Ford, Executive Pastry Chef of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, CA is all about elegant nostalgia and loves paying homage to classic desserts. A fan of “plated desserts,” he says he’s now venturing more into patisserie-forward tarts and petits gateaux.

At the 11th Annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress in Greenpoint. Brooklyn (www.starchefs.com/cook/icc) Ford, who won a 2010 StarChefs Rising Star Pastry Award as well as Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Pastry Chef” in 2011, shared his skills with ICC attendees with a Crémeux workshop featuring Valrhrona chocolate – one of his go-to ingredients. He also shared some inspiration and food philosophies:

·        Inspiration: Seasonality, he says, tends to be huge driver in what he’s working on, especially this season (fall) because it’s his favorite. “Pumpkin, the beginning of apples and pears, spiced, richer items, are what my focus is now,” he says.

·        Favorite Flavor Combination: Coconut and candied violet are also high on his list of products he likes to work with as they’re light and blend well with chocolate. “They cut through the richness and lift the flavors higher,” he says.

·        Go-To Texture Combination: “I use the combination of agar agar and gelatin a lot. The texture created is really great and can be used in so many ways.”

·        Scraps: “Never waste” he says. Among the top throw-away's he incorporates into his pastry creations: Vanilla beans. “I never throw them away, use them, wash them, dry them, grind them, candy them. I’m a huge user of scraps.”

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