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Rick Billings

Wed, 05/14/2008 - 20:43
Submitted by admin_rg
Rick Billings
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon New York

Monday, September 15 09:00AM—10:10AM

Additive-Free Innovation Pastry Workshop


Like most chefs, 25-year-old Rick Billings’s entrée into the kitchen began with a job washing dishes as a teenager. Rick graduated from New England Culinary Institute om Vermont; his favorite course, strangely, was “Meat Fabrication,” and his least favorite was pastry. He was turned off by the display case desserts, with their diagrams of assembly and pounds of buttercream. So he started off down the savory route, working at L' Espalier in Boston, and then under Jonathan Perno at the Metropolitan in his home state of Utah. It wasn’t until a second East Coast jaunt – which this time took him to Boston’s No.9 Park – that he found pastry’s appeal. Under No.9’s pastry chef Kristen Murray, Billings was exposed to a working environment where the savory walk-in was fair game. It was here that he was introduced to the concept of including ingredients like sweet peas, tobacco, mead, and parmesan in pastry. This philosophy was solidified after meeting the then-pastry chef of Clio, Alex Stupak (currently of wd~50, New York), who made Billings’ images of sad buttercream cakes a thing of the past.

Billings spent formative years under Stupak’s tutelage at Clio, ultimately taking on the title of pastry chef for himself. Chef Ken Oringer’s open-minded, progressive cuisine and creative techniques allowed for endless experimentation, and when Stupak left town, Billings picked up the mantle of the city’s most out-of-the-box pastry chef.

Billings recently moved to New York City for the pastry chef position at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, where he continues to think outside the box, but in different ways. At L’Atelier he is fusing his creative side with “cuisine naturelle,” or additive-free natural cuisine, and so doing, pushing his creative boundaries even further.


“Le Rocher” (The Rock)
Pastry Chef Rick Billings of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – New York, NY
Adapted by

Yield: 1 Serving


“Le Rocher:”
• 40 grams sugar
• 40 grams cocoa
• 40 grams malted milk powder
• 3 grams salt
• 20 grams kuzu starch
• 400 grams cold cream
• 400 grams water
• 100 grams gianduja
• 200 grams milk chocolate

Streusel “Levain:”
• 250 grams all-purpose flour
• 250 grams sugar
• 250 grams butter
• 5 grams salt
• 187 grams almond flour
• 10 grams milk
• 40 grams fresh yeast

White Beer Sorbet:
• 200 grams water
• 100 grams sugar
• 70 grams atomized glucose
• 60 grams liquid glucose
• 450 grams Franziskaner beer
• Zest and juice of ½ lemon

Tangerine Sorbet:
• 260 grams water
• 280 grams sugar
• 100 grams atomized glucose
• 1 kilo tangerine juice

To Assemble and Serve:
• Freeze dried apricots, ground into a fine powder
• Delicately flavored herbs, for garnish


For “Le Rocher:”
Mix together sugar, cocoa, malt powder, salt, and kuzu. Put cream and water in a pot and mix in dry ingredients; bring to a boil carefully while gently scraping bottom of pot with a rubber spatula. Put gianduja and chocolate in a bowl and strain hot cream over top. Stir to emulsify and then cool to 45°C/113°F. Pour into a siphon and charge three times. Dispense in an even layer into a deep narrow loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Freeze in a -40°C blast chiller for 8 hours. Shatter into abstract pieces and store covered in freezer.

For the Streusel “Levain:”
Preheat one oven to 140°C/284°F, and another oven to 70°C/158°F. Mix flour, sugar, butter, salt and almond flour until there are pea-sized clumps of butter. Combine milk and yeast until homogenous; then add to flour mixture blending until just incorporated. Spread out on a sheet pan and bake in a vented oven until dry and golden. Transfer to 70°/158°F oven; bake for 1 hour to finish drying. Process in a Thermomix* until smooth, then pour into a shallow pan to cool for about 8 hours.
Roll 6 gram pieces into “pebbles.” Set aside in refrigerator.

*because of the butter, mixture should liquefy while in the Thermo-mix.

For the White Beer Sorbet:
Bring water, sugar, and both glucose to 85°C/185°F; then cool to 4°C/39°F. Gradually add beer, zest and juice, mixing thoroughly. Portion into Pacojet beakers.

For the Tangerine Sorbet:
Bring water, sugar and glucose to 85°C/185°F; then cool to 4°C/39°F. Gradually add juice, mixing thoroughly. Portion into Pacojet beakers. Freeze, and spin for service.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place “le rocher” in the center of the plate. Arrange two pebbles of streusel around, followed by one quenelle of each sorbet. Sprinkle a small amount of apricot powder on the tangerine sorbet, and finish the plate with a garnish of herbs and flowers.

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