325 San Lorenzo Ave, #1325
Coral Gables, FL 33146

Biography »

Amy Tarr: What is your philosophy on pastry?
Max Santiago: Pastry is my life – I eat and sleep, always thinking of it. I express my creativity, art, and individuality through pastry. It’s a true passion.

AT: Where did you train? Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring chefs?
MS: Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. I absolutely would recommend culinary school. Most of the things you are going to learn as a chef are on the job, but school is helpful, and in today’s world, chefs needs to have a degree. There are so many things – nutrition, sanitation - you need to be certified in those things if you’re going to be a head chef in this field.

AT: What pastry or kitchen tools can’t you live without? Why?
MS: My laptop computer was the best investment I made – that’s my favorite tool. I use it every single day. Also my 12-inch chef’s knife - I call it my baby. And my multi-wheel cutter – it has 5 wheels and allows you to get equal distance in cuts to make more accurate portion sizes.

AT: What are your favorite ingredients?
MS: I use a lot of luster dusts – they make a big impact on presentation. They come in all different colors like Aztec gold, ruby red, and bronze. Cotton candy is really cool, too – you can purchase a small home machine and use all sorts of wacky flavors like lavender and honey to make spun sugar.

AT: What are your top three tips for dessert success?
MS: 1- Put all of your passion and creativity into everything you do.
2- Research your product and use the Internet to your advantage.
3- Keep yourself organized and keep a record of everything you create. Take down your recipes so you can replicate them.

AT: Who are your mentors/pastry heroes?
MS: My mentor without a doubt is Paul Hayward – I consult with him on a regular basis. His whole approach and creativity is everything I want to be. He taught me a lot about the way you should work with other people. In terms of more celebrity chefs, I look to Charlie Trotter and his pastry chefs – he’s the most renowned for putting a lot of savories into the pastry world. Now it’s everywhere, but he was really the leading person in that.

AT: What are your favorite desserts?
MS: I love pastry; I never get tired of it. Also anything with tropical fruits. Chocolate is my favorite medium to play with, but I like to eat tropical fruits like mangoes, coconuts, and bananas.


Mundo New World Café | Coral Gabels, FL

A native of Miami, Max Santiago has been drawing ever since he got a hold of a pencil. For him, pastry is another form of art. After serving in the Air Force, Santiago turned to his true passion and enrolled in culinary school. With stints in a number of Florida’s top bakeshops, including Chef Allen’s and the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Santiago now parks his plane at Mundo New World Café in Coral Gables, where Star Chef Norman Van Aken gives him the freedom to let his imagination soar. Santiago approaches his work with intensity, photographing every dish and documenting every recipe he creates.

Spiced Apple Clouds with Chai Foam
Pastry Chef Maximo Santiago of Mundo New World Café - Coral Gables, FL
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 12 Servings


    Chai foam base:
  • 10 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 8 whole white peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 whole nutmeg, crushed
  • 1/2 quart heavy cream
  • 1/2 quart milk
  • 2 ounces glucose
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided in half
  • 1/2 ounce fresh ginger root, crushed
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 black tea bags
    Caramelized spiced apples:
  • 10 granny smith apples (medium-sized), peeled, cored, and diced small
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 ounce butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons apple brandy
    Fritter batter:
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups warm milk
  • 1/4 cup dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups high gluten flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lemons, finely zested
  • Oil for deep-frying

For chai foam base:
Toast all the dry spices in a sauté pan. Bring cream, milk, glucose, half the sugar, ginger, and roasted spices to a boil in a saucepot. In a bowl, mix egg yolks, vanilla extract, and remaining sugar until smooth. Pour warm cream mixture over egg mix, whisking constantly. Return liquid to the pot, place back on the stove and cook until custard reaches 185°F and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Place 3 of the tea bags into warm custard and let steep for 5 minutes while chilling over an ice bath. Discard tea bags and allow mixture to cool completely. Once cooled, place remaining tea bag into custard, wrap tightly, and steep in the refrigerator overnight. Strain chai foam base through a chinois and place into syphon charger.

For caramelized spiced apples:
In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, vanilla bean scrapings, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace. Place a large skillet over high heat, and add butter. Once butter is smoking, add the apples and brown evenly on all sides for approximately 2 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar over apples and toss to evenly coat. Continue to cook over high heat until sugar begins to caramelize, approximately 5 minutes. Take off heat and add the vanilla extract and brandy. Return to heat for 1 more minute. Spread apples onto a parchment-lined sheet pan to cool.

For fritter batter:

In a large stainless steel bowl combine the water and the warm milk.
Sprinkle the yeast over and stir. Sprinkle the sugar and vanilla extract in and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt and lemon zest. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment for about 1 hour. Stir batter and add spiced apples. Place mixture into a plastic container and refrigerate, about 30 minutes.

Heat fryer oil to 350°F. Scoop 1 ounce of batter into oil. Fry until golden, about 2 ½ minutes on each side. Drain fritter on paper towel. Repeat with remaining batter.

To serve:
Sprinkle fritters generously with powdered sugar. Dispense chai foam from syphon to garnish fritters and serve immediately.

   Published: October 2004