Q&A with Craigie on Main’s Pastry Chef Jessica Scott: FOOD & WINE’s People’s Best New Pastry Chef Contenderfeatured
I was thrilled when I found out that pastry chef Jessica Scott of Craigie On Main in Boston, is one of 50 contenders in FOOD & WINE magazine’s first ever The People’s Best New Pastry Chefs award. Jess is a long-time friend of my husband (we’re talking grade school), and we are so excited that her mad skills are getting some recognition!
So…I don’t do this often, but I’m gonna pimp her out right now because she is a dear friend, phenomenally talented chef, and so deserving of this honor.
(And please do it today because voting closes tomorrow on Valentine’s Day.)
Jess’s style leans toward comforting and sophisticated desserts that focus on balancing contrasts — smooth and crunchy, savory and sweet — often highlighted through the use of unexpected ingredients. Take her Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Tart with White Chocolate-Miso Ice Cream with Huckleberry Coulis and Smoked Salt Butterscotch for example. Or an Affogato with Chocolate Mint Ice Cream, Chicory-Rum Chocolate Sauce and Espresso Cookie Crumbs (grown-up thin mint sundae, anyone?).
Hua and I already know Jess is awesome, but in case you are unfamiliar, here’s a little peek into who she is:
What’s your guiltiest food pleasure?
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, can’t live without it. I also eat fluff by the spoonful :).
What is a dish that sounded great in your head, but failed in real life?
Tough one…I’ve had quite a few. Most recently, a parsnip pudding with roasted bananas and hazelnuts. Still going to try and make that one happen.
Favorite food memory?
Decorating gingerbread cookies with my mom every Christmas.
Dessert you are most proud of?
Bittersweet chocolate mousse with white chocolate miso ice cream and huckleberry coulis.
A few years ago you decided to pick up and move to South Africa for a bit. Tell me about our time there and how it impacted you as a pastry chef.
Wow, what an experience. Things happen so differently there. Third world country, southern hemisphere, eleven different national languages…talk about a culture shock. I definitely learned to take it easy and operate on “South Africa time”. From a cooking standpoint, I learned not to trust everyday ingredients or take anything for
granted. There would be days where your milk delivery wouldn’t show up because there were riots in the streets or someone would try and sell you baking powder that was 3 years old and did nothing. You had to learn to really trust your senses and think about what is actually going on throughout the cooking process.
The People’s Best New Pastry Chef award will be given to the year’s top pastry chef, as voted on by the dining public via online poll. The nominees are all talented innovators that have run a restaurant pastry kitchen for less than five years. The contest has been broken down into three regions – West, Central and East – there will be one finalist from each of the three regions; the person with the most votes will be named The People’s Best New Pastry Chef.
Voting closes tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, so please VOTE FOR JESSICA SCOTT today!