chefs SUE McCOWN
Pastry Chef Sue McCown of Earth & Ocean at The W Hotel – Seattle, WA
Adapted by StarChefs
Rising Pastry Chef Sue McCown

Earth & Ocean
Seattle, WA

November 2003

Philosophy on cooking:
Keep it simple, clean & sexy.

Formerly of:
The Pampas Club – Seattle, WA;
Campagne – Seattle, WA;
The Alexis Hotel – Seattle, WA;
The Sorrento Hotel – Seattle, WA;

Culinary School:
California Culinary Academy – San Francisco, CA

Tools you can't live without:
- Silpat
- Small offset spatula nicknamed Barbie
- Large offset spatula nicknamed Ken
- KitchenAid mixer

Favorite ingredients:
Vanilla bean, Brown sugar, Powdered sugar

Three tips for dessert success:
1. Read your recipe.
2. Get all your mise en place together beforehand.
3. Plan your timing correctly.

Favorite desserts:
- Coco Latida – My version of Almond Joy but better.
- Claudia Fleming’s Tapioca with a Cilantro/Basil Syrup with Passion Fruit

Short Bio:
Sue McCown was both raised and trained in the culinary arts in San Francisco. Sue attended the California Culinary Academy where she trained to become a professional chef and graduated with honors.

In 1990, Sue left San Francisco for the Pacific Northwest, taking a position at Campagne. After a few short months, Sue left line cooking and took over the restaurant’s baking operations. She enjoyed the energy level provided by working for a modern day French restaurant in the heart of the Pike Place Market, next to Chef Tamara Murphy. Her positive experience at Campagne molded her style, character and love affair with desserts.

In 1993, Sue moved to The Alexis Hotel, working side by side with Executive Chef Emily Moore. The Painted Table was one of Seattle’s first four-star restaurants, and Sue had the ultimate challenge and pleasure of catering to such guests as Ivana Trump, the Sultan of Brunei, as well as to locals. Sue received several awards in her two years at the Alexis: Chocolate for Choice, the Peter Rabbit Carrot Cake Contest.

Sue moved to the Sorrento Hotel in 1995, where she produced interesting desserts for this world-class, nineteenth century Seattle landmark. One year later, Sue worked with Wolfgang Puck to open ObaChine, where she fashioned such whimsical items as Sweet Dim Sum for Two.

Sue oversees the on-sight creation and baking of all pastry products for W Seattle’s hotel catering and banquet functions and for Earth & Ocean. The opportunity to work for this contemporary hotel and restaurant is the culmination of eleven years of self-training in the pastry industry. Sue participates in numerous charity events and competitions, while continually tantalizing Seattle with her creative seasonal dishes utilizing products from the Pacific Northwest.



Yield: 8 Servings


    Milk Chocolate Orange Sauce
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate orange, (by Cocoa Barry)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup corn syrup

  • Cakes
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 ounces sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons flour


For Milk Chocolate Orange Sauce:
Chop chocolate into small pieces. Scald heavy cream and corn syrup and pour over chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted.

For Cakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour eight 6 - ounce ramekins. Tap out excess flour. Set ramekins on baking sheet. In double boiler, over simmering water, melt butter with chocolate. Meanwhile, in separate bowl, beat eggs with egg yolks, sugar and salt at high speed until thickened and pale. Whisk chocolate until smooth. Quickly fold chocolate mixture into egg mixture along with flour. Spoon batter into prepared ramekins and bake 7 minutes, or until sides of cakes are firm but centers are soft. Let cakes cool in ramekins 1 minute, then cover each with inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, letting each stand 10 seconds and then un-mold. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing:

Willowcrest NV Estate Port