Philosophy on cooking:
I like to integrate different flavors and combinations that
people wouldn’t necessarily expect, but not too avant-garde.
I really like to bring savory spices and flavors into my desserts.
The Salish Lodge and Spa – Snoqualmie, WA;
Dahlia Lounge – Seattle, WA;
Seattle Central Community College Pastry Program
Tools you can't live without:
- Offset serrated knife
- Tournet knife
All fruits in season, especially cherries
Three tips for dessert success:
1. Learn how to cook first. A foundation in cooking is really
important to be a pastry chef.
2. Find a mentor, work closely with someone and learn as much
as you can from them.
3. Work really hard and be humble. Don’t expect to ascend
the ranks really quickly, continue learning.
Claudia Fleming – Gramercy Tavern, NYC
- Mexican Hot Chocolate with a homemade Marshmallow Meringue
- My Mom’s Italian Christmas cookies and Strusloi
Contrary to popular belief, pastry chefs don’t always
have a sweet tooth. In the case of Pastry Chef Christina Longo,
her siblings were surprised by her career choice as she was
always the first to pass on dessert as a child. Growing up
in an Italian-American family where home cooked food was delicious
and plentiful, her mom’s kitchen was her castle, Christina
didn’t get much culinary training there, aside from
helping to garnish Christmas cookies or drying dishes.
In the early 90’s, the restaurant climate in Central
Florida was not particularly hospitable towards women in the
kitchen, which forced her into front of the house positions
with weak promises from chefs to work her into the kitchen
in the future. Through a series of jobs in Florida, Washington
D.C. and New York, she was able to build a stronger cooking
foundation. Inspired at this point in her life, Christina
was looking for a city with a developing food scene and good
culinary schools. Seattle beckoned.
Somewhere between the East and West Coasts, she began thinking
of a new career direction – baking and pastry. After
a few months of temporary banquet cooking, Christina found
a position with a start-up business trying to bring an Italian
trattoria-style to Seattle. Here she found a mentor in the
pastry chef who encouraged her to enroll in the Pastry Arts
program at Seattle Central Community College.
While in school, she was presented with a chance to stage
at a patisserie in St. Germain-en-Laye, France. Over the next
three months, Christina worked at the Patisserie Grandin and
was exposed to a style of pastry radically different from
what she saw in Seattle.
Upon returning to the Northwest in 2001, Christina was hired
as Pastry Chef at the Barking Frog, which provided a forum
for expression she had not seen in the past. She sees her
palate and style continuing to evolve and going back to her
Mediterranean roots and upbringing in tropical Florida. Her
training was transformed by the French appreciation for the
art of patisserie. According to Christina, “It’s
an appreciation for the simple ingredients of the pastry kitchen,
especially fresh fruits at the height of their season, and
for techniques that transform them into edible art, that has
driven my passion. It’s the desire to find balance and
pleasure throughout a meal and to reward the palate with a