Monday, June 29, 2009

Bay Area pastry chefs just can't catch a break?

Tough times to be a pastry chef. Not only are patrons tightening their belt (and their budget) when it comes to fine dining and desserts, but this morning Michael Bauer kinda called you boring.

Part of the reason is that my expectations are low writes MB after admitting that he routinely gives restaurants with poor dessert choices 3 stars, giving GMs, head chefs and owners the impression that it doesn't matter who's making their pot de cremes and seasonal fruit galettes.

It's also challenging to review desserts, claims MB, because those darn restaurants could be bothered to send him a menu. Do they even give him the PC's name? From the blog:

When we call for menus each week for restaurants I'm reviewing, we have to specifically ask for a dessert menu, otherwise there's a 50-50 chance we won't get one. Even now we sometimes have to call again, which suggests that many restaurants aren't invested in the sweet course. That's probably the reason I see many unbalanced offerings: too many creamy puddings or too much chocolate, for example. I can't even estimate how many restaurants I've been to that have an ice cream component in every dessert.

This isn't the first time MB's complained about the sweet fare out here.

My suggestions for the Bauer? Well, I'd love to see him champion the desserts we DO have. Imagine if he were using his powers of suggestions to offer up examples of success rather than lambaste the options? Also, it seems like Bauer's talking to chefs about desserts but no one's talking to the diners. Chefs are picky. Chefs want to play with toys. Chefs have been making creme brulee for their entire damned career and probably want something new. True. I support all of that.

But let's flesh out the idea that Bay Area people aren't some bizarro boring-dessert lovers, shall we? I mean, Creme Brulee Cart man seems to be doing pretty well.

And let's take a second to think about the many fine bakeries in this city who do offer something a little more interesting. The continued success of places like Kara's Cupcakes proves that people will go out of their way to pay a little more money for an item that's organic and tasty (though they could use some new flavors!)

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