On Sunday, ICE alum and star of Top Chef: Just Desserts, Zac Young came to ICE to guide students through a tasting of a variety of Guittard chocolates and demonstrate some desserts designed to highlight the flavor profiles of different chocolates.
The Guittard family has manufactured chocolate in the San Francisco valley for more than 140 years. Guittard Chocolate’s high-end E. Guittard line includes a variety of blended and single-origin chocolates made from beans from select locations. The students were able to taste 12 different chocolates, ranging from a 38% Hawaiian milk chocolate to a 91% bittersweet blended chocolate. The tasting included single-origins from Hawaii, Peru, Madagascar, Trinidad, Venezuela and more. Zac said that as a pastry chef, he loved working with these single-origin chocolates because they have a flavor profile of their own and can they can be used to make desserts that go a step beyond the base flavors of chocolate and begin to highlight the fruit and flora notes chocolate can have.
For the demo, Zac made two desserts. His “Whoppers and Pretzels,” a malted cheesecake with chocolate pretzel crunch was designed to highlight the flavor of Guittard’s Kokoleka Hawaiian 38% Milk Chocolate. The other dessert, “Coconut Cream Pie ‘On Its Side’,” a chocolate crèmeux and a coconut crèmeux with coconut streusel, showcased the flavor of Guittard’s Complexité 70% Bittersweet Chocolate. Both desserts were a designed to contrast and balance flavors and textures, illustrating the uses of different types of chocolate.
Zac also offered some advice for ICE students, telling them to be prepared to work very hard once they left school. He recounted how after graduating from ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program he went on to work at Bouchon Bakery. He said, “I was their first ever extern, and I was probably their worst extern. I cried everyday.” He told the students of his journey from working harder than he ever imagined at Bouchon, to becoming Pastry Chef at Butter, and now heading the pastry kitchens at two locations of Flex Mussels. His essential tip for would be pastry chefs — “If you work in a place with a climate-controlled chocolate room, you can cry in there — you’ll be less puffy.”