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Ralph Perrazzo
BRADLEY OGDEN
Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 731-7410

Biography»

Interview:
Amy Tarr: What got you into pastry?
Ralph Perrazzo: My love for food started to develop at a young age when I would work in the kitchen with my mother and grandmothers helping with basic food preparation. In my eyes, the love of family and the love of food are on the same level. My great-grandmother was known for her assortment of Italian cookies, and to this day I still use her recipes. My maternal grandmother was the boss of the family. She always made the best salad, and her chicken cutlets were always perfectly fried. Zucchini Pie was and still is my mother’s specialty. She was always able to make a perfect meal for our family, even when times were tough.

AT: What is your philosophy on pastry?
RP: You’re only as good as your product; nothing should be frozen. And desserts have to be fun – there’s nothing worse than a boring day at work.

AT: Who are your pastry mentors?
RP: Eric Hubert is my primary mentor. He’s been a big influence in my career. To this day I still talk to him and go to him for advice. He’s like a father to me.

AT: Where did you go to school?
RP: I graduated from the CIA, just after Bryan [Ogden].

AT: What pastry or kitchen tools can’t you live without? Why?
RP: Rubber bowl scraper – I keep it in my back pocket. Also a food injector; it’s basically a syringe. I use it for homemade ice pops.

AT: What are your favorite ingredients?
RP: Chocolate from the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. It’s 100% grown and produced in Hawaii. Bob and Pam Cooper are the owners. Their chocolate is made from beans extracted from pods that grow on the cacao trees in their orchards. The chocolate has an excellent flavor and texture. I like that I can get my chocolate from small farmers who still care about natural and organic products.
They care about their product and their customers the way I care about my desserts and everyone who tastes them.

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Ralph Perrazzo
BRADLEY OGDEN | Las Vegas

With one glance at Ralph Perrazzo’s desserts at Bradley Ogden, it is evident that Perrazzo is a chef who likes to play around and have fun. Constantly tinkering with amusing elements like homemade pixy stix and Guinness cotton candy, Perrazzo is the Willy Wonka of the fine dining world. He cites Pastry Chef Eric Hubert as his primary mentor. Working together at Jean Georges in New York for two years, Hubert coached the young Perrazzo to use his mind along with his hands in the kitchen and to ceaselessly create new things. Perrazzo can’t seem to sit still in his bake shop, and no one item will appear on his menu twice. He takes a revisionist approach to retro desserts, making them better than we remember them, while still evoking a potent sense of nostalgia.

 

Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta, Liquid Butterscotch Center, Guinness Cotton Candy
Chef Ralph Perrazzo of Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace
– Las Vegas, NV
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Chocolate Panna Cotta, Butterscotch Liquid Center, Guinness Cotton Candy on StarChefs.comYield: 30 (3-ounce) Servings

Ingredients:

    Guinness Cotton Candy:
  • 2 cans of Guinness beer
  • 30 grams glucose
  • 35 grams apple pectin
  • 160 grams sugar
  • 5 cups raw sugar
    Chocolate Panna Cotta:
  • 175 grams sugar
  • 475 grams heavy cream
  • 225 grams buttermilk
  • 245 grams milk chocolate, melted
  • 6 gelatin sheets
  • Salt to taste
    Butterscotch:
  • 200 grams butter
  • 219 grams dark brown sugar
  • 230 grams granulated sugar
  • 570 grams corn syrup
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 liter heavy cream

Method:
Guinness Cotton Candy:

Bring beer to slight simmer. Stir in glucose, simmer, then whisk in pectin and sugar. Continue simmering for 5 minutes until thick. Pour into a plastic container to cool overnight

Take raw sugar and rub with some Guinness base. Pass through fine mesh strainer and dry for one more day. Add to cotton candy machine and spin.

Chocolate Panna Cotta:
In a saucepot, bring sugar, heavy cream, and buttermilk to light simmer. Add melted milk chocolate and incorporate fully. Soak gelatin sheets in water and add to the pot. Add salt to taste. Pour mixture into panna cotta molds and let set for two hours in the refrigerator.

Butterscotch:
In a pan set over medium-high heat, caramelize the butter and both sugars. Add corn syrup and salt to taste. Deglaze caramel mixture with cream. Bring to a boil until butterscotch achieves a thick consistency. Scoop out center of panna cotta mold with melon baller and fill with butterscotch. In a saucepot, melt down scooped center and pour over butterscotch to seal. Refrigerate again to seal the panna cotta.

To Assemble and Serve:
Unmold panna cotta onto serving plates and garnish with a tuft of cotton candy.

 

Interview Cont'd
AT: Tell me about an innovative technique you have created or adapted in an unusual way.
RP: I make puffed-style fruit using strawberries and tapioca starch. I cook the strawberries sous vide in a Cryovac bag. It becomes like a hard jelly. Then I cut it up and dry it in a hydrator. Then I fry it and it gets all puffed up like puffed rice.

AT: What restaurants do you like in Las Vegas off The Strip?
RP: Lotus of Siam – for their Thai Beef Jerky.

AT: What are your top three tips for dessert success?
RP: 1) If it’s not in season, it’s not worth doing. 2) Don’t le the freezer be your friend. 3) Take time to do testing and look for new products.

AT: What’s your favorite interview question?
RP: I pick up their resume and say, “Tell me about yourself.” When I get a student out of culinary school, they are already a step ahead of the game. But culinary school can be misleading. I try to only hire people who share the same passion and outlook on food products as me.

AT: What advice would you offer young chefs just getting started?
RP: Stay passionate and don’t get misled by the negativity in some kitchens. If you’re passionate, you are going to be successful.

AT: What trends do you see emerging in pastry arts?
RP: The crossover from savory to sweet is acceptable now.

AT: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
RP: Definitely playing with chocolate! My biggest dream is to have a pastry shop and an Italian pork shop next door. I’m really into making cured meats.




   Published: August 2005

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