Photo Credit: Peter Pioppo

Jennifer Giblin
116 E 27th St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 447-7733

Recipe »

Mackenzie Moore: What is your philosophy on pastry?
Jennifer Giblin: KIS, which stands for Keep It Simple--and yummy, which goes unsaid. This is the theme of Blue Smoke. It’s important that flavor and quality always come first, and presentation second. It doesn’t make sense to use an exotic or interesting ingredient just for the sake of being weird, if that flavor doesn’t work.

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Jennifer Giblin

Jennifer Giblin is the Pastry Chef at the urban barbecue restaurant, Blue Smoke, and its sister jazz club, Jazz Standard. Despite her passion for baking, Giblin once had a different career in mind. Born in Houston and raised in Tucson, she graduated from the University of Arizona in 1994 with a degree in psychology. She planned on becoming a police officer – but at the last minute changed her mind and entered cooking school at Le Cordon Bleu in London in 1997.

Giblin’s culinary career began when she worked for her in-law’s catering business cooking pastries. Prior to joining Blue Smoke, Giblin worked at two other Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants – she began as a cook at Tabla, where she worked for two years, and she then spent a year at Eleven Madison Park, where she baked cakes for events held in the private dining rooms. The cakes were such a success that Giblin started a cake-baking business on the side before returning to Tabla in the position of Pastry Sous Chef.

Since joining Blue Smoke in 2003, she has perfected home-style desserts such as sticky toffee pudding, banana cream pie, seasonal fruit crisps, orange sugar dusted donuts and rich chocolate layer cake. Every item in Giblin’s desserts is freshly made, from the graham crackers in her pie crusts to the ice creams in her shakes and floats, to the coconut fillings in her layer cakes.

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Interview Cont'd
MM: Where did you complete your Baking and Pastry training?
JG: I went to the Le Cordon Bleu in London for culinary arts because I was from Arizona and I really wanted to live abroad, plus it was a great school.

MM: Do you think that culinary education is a necessity?
JG: Yes and no, as one can learn from an apprenticeship as well as from school, and nothing beats real world experience. It’s always a good idea to work a bit before going to culinary school, so that you get the most out of it.

MM: What pastry tools can’t you live without?
JG: There are so many! My microplane is indispensable for zesting and shaving, and I use my scraper for everything.

MM: What are your favorite ingredients?
JG: Salt! Trendy or not, salt is necessary for balancing taste, as is acid. Buttermilk is another.

MM: What are your top three tips for dessert success?
JG: First and foremost, taste everything, and at every stage of the cooking. I learned this from the savory kitchen. Second, limit yourself when mixing flavors. And third, aim for balance and contrast, in textures, flavors, and temperatures.

MM: What are your favorite desserts?
JG: I like fruit desserts, like a homey, simple, bubbling fruit pie.

MM: What trends do you see emerging in pastry arts?
JG: I think the trend might veer towards less experimental, less manipulated ingredients and a concentration on their pure flavor and state.

MM: Where to you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
JG: I am very excited to be a part of the growth with Blue Smoke. I can also see myself owning and running a small dessert shop one day.


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   Published: September 2006