Interview with Pastry Chef Kristy Choo of Jin Patisserie - Los Angeles, CA

May 16

Antoinette Bruno: What is your philosophy on pastry?
Kristy Choo: Never be afraid to experiment with anything that comes to your mind – just give it a try. I like to try different things with chocolate and see how they taste.

AB: What restaurants that you have worked in as a pastry chef have been the most influential?
KC: Raffles Hotel. I had just graduated from school and that was my training ground. I worked with the best visiting chefs from all over the world for one week at a time.

AB: How was your Baking and Pastry training at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco?
KC: I really liked it. There was a lot of hands-on training. It was a very good school. I would recommend culinary school, but I think that those interested in pursuing this career should first work in a kitchen before going to school, which will give you a better idea of the real working environment in a professional kitchen. At least you would know what to expect.

AB: Have you won any awards?
KC: Hotel Food Asia and the Culinary World Cup – for chocolate.

AB: What pastry or kitchen tools can’t you live without?
KC: My palate knife. I use it to level out my mousse, temper my chocolate on a tabletop and make chocolate garnishes.

AB: What are your favorite ingredients?
KC: Chocolate. I like 72 percent bitter chocolate because it has a very good flavor.

AB: What are your top three tips for dessert success?
KC: Texture, flavor combinations and presentation.

AB: Who are your mentors/pastry heroes?
KC: Chef Kenny Kong from the Raffles Hotel. He guided me throughout my competition and brought me to a different level that I never thought I could get to. And Chef Pang of Canele inspired me with his artistic talent.

AB: What are your favorite desserts?
KC: My favorite dessert to eat is very simple- a warm pear tart. My favorite desserts to make are chocolate desserts.

AB: What trends do you see emerging in pastry arts?
KC: Simplicity and work that is very clean in presentation and complex in flavor, with texture as well. I see lots of use of Asian ingredients combined with a Western style and technique.

AB: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
KC: I would like to establish a few boutiques that will showcase my passion in the art of pastry.