The Dessert Project

Left to right, Our multi-talented chef host: Steven Cak (parkside), Philip Speer (uchi/uchiko), and Plinio Sandalio (The Carillon)

Little known fact about most restaurants, very few employ a full time pastry chef.  Most either subcontract the work out to a local bakery or order straight off the Sysco truck.  Many times pastry chefs have to prove their worth by working both the savory and sweet sides of the line to make their positions economically viable.  Sometimes there is the rare hybrid of ADD culinary chef and OCD pastry chef that excel at both.  I had the pleasure of attending the winter gathering of three of Austin’s best pastry chefs at parkside on November 20 who wanted to showcase their abilities with a savory and sweet course each plus an amuse bouche, intermezzo, and petit fours along with wine pairings.  So much delicious food!!!  And a portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. The next gathering of the Dessert Project will be in the Spring at Plinio Sandalio’s new home at the Carillon.  I will definitely be there, hope to see you as well.

Amuse Bouche from Philip Speer- grilled grape and boquerones (marinated white Spanish anchovies)

From Plinio Sandalio- Scallop, cauliflower puree, grapefruit, bacon jus

From Philip Speer- Roasted guinea hen, butternut squash, black trumpet mushroom, puffed barley

From Steven Cak-Pork Belly, Texas apple, celery, brussel sprouts
Intermezzo- gin, mint, campari, grapefruit granita
From Plinio Sandalio- coconut pound cake, grapefruit sorbet, avacado puree, ginger honey
From Philip Speer- curried squash semifreddo, acorn croquant, orange coriander sorbet, squash beignet, marigold


From Steven Cak- peanut butter mousse, Texas apple, celery, sultana sorbet, honey
Talented crews from all 3 restaurants that help make one of my favorite meals of the year.
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My name is Christy and I was born, raised, and still live in Austin, TX. I love to travel. I have been all over the US, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, etc. My second favorite place in the world is Negril, Jamaica where I have been 10 times and counting. I am a trained pastry chef but I am not currently working in "the industry" right now. I became a pastry chef in part to complement the fabulous dinners conjured up by my best friends Ethan and Michelle, who hopefully will be contributing to this blog as well. We went through a 2 year period of "Tuesday Night" dinner parties which were a smorgasbord of bloody meat and red, red wine. Friendships and laughter. The men did all the cooking while the women got tipsy, as all dinner parties should be. If I wanted to participate with food, I had to bring something and I became Dessert Girl. Eventually I attended the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Texas Culinary Academy and received a certificate in Pastry and Baking. I have had several baking jobs but found it hard to make ends meet, so I earn my living elsewhere for now. I have had the pleasure of working with several celebrity chefs including Rebecca Rather, Bronwen Weber, and David Lebovitz. I have also cultivated some amazing friends and resources in the Central Texas area and would like to share my knowledge with all who care to join me. My most recent honor was winning Best Sweet at the Bacon Takedown during SXSW 2011. As the culinary icon Ms. Childs' says, "Bon Appetit!" ***CONTACT ME at or twitter @christy111luv***

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