1. Small Desserts
While we’ve seen larger-than-life ideas cropping up across the country, a number of pastry chefs have taken to minimizing their dessert portions for maximum appeal (and profits). A slew of $3 dessert options abound: try a bite-sized strawberry meringue cheesecake at Grant Achatz’s new temple of modern mixology, The Aviary, or nibble on a mini mousse off the Parisian miniature desserts tray from 2011 Chicago Rising Star Pastry Chef Meg Galus at NoMI Kitchen at the Chicago Park Hyatt. And at Yew Restaurant and Bar, Pastry Chef Bruno Feldeisen draws in his crowds with dessert tapas, including bruléed lollipops and his rich Duck Egg Custard. And Pastry Chef Katie Rosenhouse has left her post at David Burke Kitchen to open her own mini-desserts company, lovebites. The approach is a win-win—with the modest prices, guests feel like they’ve gotten a deal, and chefs save on time and money. Even major consumer players got in on this trend in 2011—mini desserts can now be found at both Starbucks and Le Pain Quotidien.
Parisian miniature dessert tray by Pastry Chef Meg Galus, formerly of Café des Architectes - Chicago, IL