Pastry Chef Chad Guay
Table 1280 |Atlanta
A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Chad Guay has
held positions in kitchens around Atlanta, staging at the The
Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton under Chef Bruno Menard and
a working with both Gary Mennie and Carvel Grant-Gould at Canoe.
He moved to Orlando to help Chef Todd Immel open Luma on Park;
it was during his time at Luma that he began to focus
Guay returned to Atlanta and transitioned into working for pastry
chef Jonathan St. Hilaire, making pastry for various venues around
Atlanta. In 2006, Chad once again teamed up with Immel, this time
at Table 1280, the sleek, spacious and modern restaurant
across from the High Museum of Modern Art. Guay’s flavor profile
leans towards the sweet, but understands the importance of savory.
His desserts are bold but not overly sugared; sweet, fruit and rich
flavors are tempered by a savory component: stout cake paired with
maple, apple and olive oil, and smoked chocolate tart sprinkled
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AB: Where have you worked professionally as a pastry chef?
CG: I worked at the Ritz-Carlton
downtown, at Canoe with both Gary Mennie and Carvel Gould,
and with Jonathan St. Hilaire, who does pastry for Concentrics Restaurants.
AB: Who are some of your mentors? What have you learned from them?
CG: Jonathan St. Hilaire and Todd Immel, the chef here at Table 1280, are both mentors. My pastry hero is Sam Mason. The type of food he does is gastronomical.
AB: Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring cooks?
CG: I went to the Art Institute in Atlanta. I would recommend culinary school, although they often give you an ego that isn’t really deserved. They lead you to believe you can walk out as an executive chef. They teach you the basic techniques, but the rest you have to learn for yourself.
AB: What are your top three tips for pastry success?
CG: 1) Practice
2) Math skills – they’re so important for pastry!
3) Take advice from your executive chef.
AB: Is there any ingredient that you feel is particularly under-appreciated or underutilized?
CG: No, but my three favorite and most essential ingredients are 40% cream, glucose, and butter.
AB: What are a few of your favorite flavor combinations?
CG: Hazelnut and pomegranate, 75% bittersweet chocolate and passion fruit, and peaches and vanilla.
AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
CG: An offset spatula. I always need it so I keep it in my back pocket. It allows me to have a delicate touch.
AB: Please describe a culinary
technique that you have either created of borrowed and used in an
CG: I use a smoker to infuse
flavors into a variety of products, including chocolate, cheeses,
AB: What are your favorite
CG: Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Sweet Cuisine by Frederic Bau.
AB: Where do you like to
go for culinary travel? Why?
CG: Spain for their dairy
products like cheese, cream, and butter, and San Francisco for their
raw products and organic fruits.
AB: What are your favorite
restaurants-off the beaten path-in your city?
CG: Fickle Pickle
for fried pickles and gourmet sandwiches.
AB: What is your pastry philosophy?
CG: My desserts and ideas
are constantly evolving and I believe everything I do is good only
at the present time and everything develops into something better.
Nothing is ever good enough.
AB: Which person in history would you like to cook for? Whose food would you like to eat?
CG: I’d like to cook a pecan crisp with muscadine ice cream for Charlie Trotter, and I’d like to eat Daniel Boulud’s food.
AB: If you weren’t a pastry chef what do you think you’d be doing?
CG: Working on the computer, probably doing computer software sales.
AB: What does ultimate success
mean for you? What will it look like for you?
CG: I love Atlanta and enjoy
being a player in the pastry scene. The ultimate success, in my
mind, would be teaching and using my cookbook as part of the curriculum.
If I make it to that point it means I have reached all of my other
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