I'll start off a quick note to my fellow new-timers (or current no-timers): Dessert Professional Magazine is an in-print and online periodical that's all things--you guessed it!--dessert. From breads, cakes, ice creams, pastries to chocolates, no sweet morsel is left behind and you have to appreciate that such pure journalism exists. Secondly, they host an annual ceremony and dessert-tasting showdown called Top Ten Pastry Chefs. It's been going on for 24 years--yes, wow!--and every year they honor ten pastry chefs who are outstanding in their craft.
Now, onto the experience itself~
Hosted at the Institute of Culinary Education (I.C.E.) located in the World Trade Center, walking up to the the event you can opt to walk through the building's Oculus. I HIGHLY recommend it. It felt very Nordic like walking through the ribcage of a whale, but incredibly crisp, modern, and quiet for New York City, which added to the grandeur of it and made for a lovely entrance to the event:
On the far end of the Oculus, you enter I.C.E. It's essentially a large room with two hallways that point you in either direction, both lined with state-of-the-art kitchens you see through large windows. One of these halls leads you to a backroom where the ceremony itself takes place with a charming view of the Hudson river with docked sailboats swaying nearby.
For the first part of the evening, guests meandered through the kitchens filled with chefs arranging their extravagant desserts:
After enough time for everyone to browse about a bit, guests were invited to the backroom. It was time for the Top Ten Pastry Chefs!
The ceremony itself was super quick. As each name was announced, the chef took a moment for pictures then onto the next one, all while the crowd cheered and whooped in excitement.
After the ceremony is when people got to go around and sample all of the beautiful desserts they had admired before the ceremony. It was incredible trying all of these amazing chefs' creations, and all in one place!
It was not only each of the chef's passion that became evident through their insanely creative ingredients in each dessert (that I imagine only comes together through hours of trial and error), and their intricate desserts' designs (that you could tell they put major time into perfecting)--something more I took note of is the care they put into describing each of their unique ingredients to all of the guests individually, and each time with seemingly the same finesse as if it were the first. Needless to say, I was impressed all around!
One dessert I must give a shoutout to, although to be fair I wan't able to try them all, is this:
This is Chef James Gallo's creation. It's a peach marmalade with chocolate mousse, caramel cream, pecan crumbles, honey comb, and a honey smear from two bee hives on the roof of Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, GA where he's currently pastry chef. Out. of. this. world.
Pink Floyd dessert, anyone?