Interview with Pastry Chef Jennifer Giblin of Blue Smoke – New York, NY

September 20

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.

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.