Comments: 184 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

TVxStrange18 karma

How many roommates do you have in order to live in NYC on a cooks pay?

kendrickllama113 karma

2... The one drawback to the job

NicSui13 karma

Pastry noobie in here,

I want to impress my girlfriend with a self made cheesecake for this valentine (she loves cheesecake). Any tips and tricks? Recipes?

Thank you my master!

kendrickllama131 karma

  1. Use a paddle attachment and beat the crap out of the cream cheese until it reaches room temp before you use it in the recipe
  2. Always use some sort of citrus zest to accent the flavor
  3. Always bake cheesecake with water surrounding it
  4. Use Philadelphia cream cheese...seriously!
  5. Make sure you put the cheesecake in the fridge as soon as it is cooled to room temp....Don't put it in when it is still hot or even warm

pizzalovingrhino12 karma

My little sister is a huge fan of chocolate. What's the best pastry you've ever tried or made with chocolate as the main ingredient?

Also, she's sort of leaning towards becoming a pastry chef. Any realities of the profession she should definitely be made aware of before jumping in and giving it a shot?

kendrickllama121 karma

If a molten chocolate cake is done right there is little that can top it. Is anything better than hot, goey chocolate?

Make sure she knows how little pastry cooks/sous chefs/even head chefs make. I work at least 45 hours a week (that being a good week) and I am due in very early in the morning. If you go to school you have a bit of a heads up, but it isn't necessary. I suggest she works in a kitchen for 6 months and see if it's worth spending the money. Sometimes people find they would rather bake at home in the nice apartment their finance job bought them instead of baking for work and going home to an apartment 2 hours away that you share with 2 other people when you're in your mid-late twenties. That being said, if you're truly passionate about cooking, baking, whatever, all of those things won't matter. I love going to work every day and am always learning and getting better. It's a really exciting and fulfilling job

Vhyce12 karma

What are some store bought products you're impressed by?

kendrickllama121 karma

I like this question. I have a weakness for funfetti cake out of the box. It's soooooooooo good.

suckbothmydicks10 karma

How much do you earn?

kendrickllama17 karma

I'd say 95% of cooks earn less than $20/hr

Sentrik279 karma

What is your favourite pastry to prepare and why?

kendrickllama120 karma

That's a tough one- depends on the day. Some days I'm in the mood to do petit fours for parties because it's less labor intensive to do small batches of intricate things. If I'm feeling patient and calm on certain days I like making bread... It's really satisfying to see a few simple ingredients turn into hot, fresh amazing bread. Overall I would say bread

Nessie2 karma

I thought that was a different job from pastry cheffing.

kendrickllama11 karma

Depends where you work - my restaurant hosts a lot of events and we are also in charge of bread. on top of all our desserts and brunch pastries. We're pretty much all rounders, which is pretty common at the top levels of pastry cheffing

MyManMoneyMakerMike8 karma

How are the customers?

kendrickllama112 karma

For the most part alright. I don't really deal with them, which is one reason I love my job so much haha. It's actually more difficult dealing with coworkers to be honest. Kitchens are full of drama

jthecleric8 karma

Marie-Antoine Carême comes in for coffee and cake. What you gonna make?

kendrickllama19 karma

Counter culture coffee and a perfect dark chocolate croissant using all fresh farm ingredients... classic

scicurious11 karma

Counter Culture is the best coffee and I am glad to be affirmed in this, the most important of my life choices.

kendrickllama11 karma

do u live in nyc? check out everyman espresso or chalait

Epinephrined1 karma

A single origin coffee, black, with a chocolate croissant is among my favorite pairings. I just love how they play off of each other- you have the rich butteriness of the croissant, the fruity tartness of the coffee that cuts through it, and then there's the hint of sweetness from the dark chocolate that tempers that. Unfortunately, I don't get to eat chocolate croissants often since the nearest places that make good ones are an hour away.

kendrickllama12 karma

that is so sad - learn how to make them yourself :)

sellmethispenis6 karma

Have you ever made a pasty, a meat pie or anything to do with jolly ole England?

kendrickllama15 karma

Do scones count? ;)

sellmethispenis1 karma

yeaah, i guess haha, you should try something savoury.. perhaps an upscale take on a fray bentos tinned pie (my guilty pleasure, it's poor people food)


kendrickllama11 karma

I don't even know what that is..... haha

BringBackFannyPack6 karma

Do you have a good brownie recipe? I love boxed brownie mixes but I can't find a scratch made recipe that even comes close to a boxed mix.

kendrickllama112 karma

I do but it has ingredients you wouldn't be able to get at the supermarket. 1 tip for brownies - always underbake them a little and look for a fudge brownie recipe instead of a cake brownie. also, always incorporate a few handfuls of high quality chocolate chips into the batter to make it goey

LvnSuede5 karma

What are the 3-5 pastry recipes that you think all amateur chefs should know?

kendrickllama14 karma

Basic muffin mix, Chocolate chip cookies, some sort of chocolate cake, and basic bread. The reasoning behind these are that they all use different techniques and mixing methods. Once you have those down you can pretty much make 50% of anything you can bake

Pleaseluggage5 karma

Who do I have to blow to get a decent key lime pie round here?

kendrickllama15 karma

Ha, unfortunately I do not have an awesome key lime pie recipe. Check out allrecipes.com. That's usually where I start and tweak from there

IAmDotorg3 karma

Copy from a Google search and tweak from there? You're overqualified to be one of my software engineers!


kendrickllama11 karma


GeckoRoamin4 karma

Amateur baker here.

What do you think are some common mistakes people make when baking? Are there any simple tips/"tricks" you can think of that can elevate amateur baked goods?

kendrickllama115 karma

  1. Not creaming butter/sugar enough - it should be light, fluffy, and room temp
  2. over mixing - unless youre creaming butter and sugar first, or adding eggs to butter/sugar - you should pretty much just be mixing things until they are combined.
  3. scraping down the bowl every time you add a new ingredient
  4. adding one or two eggs at a time and scraping in between - makes a huge difference
  5. check your oven temperature!
  7. Spin whatever you are baking at least once during baking to cook evenly
  8. Invest in a cake tester stick - they're like a .50
  9. Weighing things makes a huge difference - Invest in a food scale - they're cheap and can make or break your recipe. A cup to one person is 1.5 cups to another if they've packed it down. Weighing things is the only true way to get the right measurement
  10. weigh everything out separately before you start mixing. If you cream butter/sugar/eggs and let it sit there for 15 minutes while you weigh things out it will fall flat and fuck up your recipe. The only time there should be down time between adding ingredients is only if the recipe specifies it
  11. Investing in piping bags and 1 simple piping tip can completely change the finished product from amateur looking to professional looking
  12. Follow the recipe exactly - directions are not open for interpretation - this isnt cooking people

mracidglee0 karma

Follow the recipe exactly - directions are not open for interpretation - this isnt cooking people

This is what I find so intimidating about baking. I have to use exactly this amount and that amount? Moreover, I know the recipe amounts are given because they're easy to measure (1/2 cup, 3 oz., etc.), and really the exact amounts I'd want to get would be 217g of this and 93g of that.

kendrickllama12 karma

Yeah, I mean, before I got into the industry I didn't realize how much weighing ingredients out makes a difference. It doesn't matter as much when you're making simple things like easy cake mixes or cookies, but when you get into more advanced baking it can really mess everything up

LvnSuede3 karma

What parts of baking put you in the zone? Like, what is it about your art that creates a feeling of flow?

kendrickllama18 karma

I work production (baking off all the pastries and desserts for the restaurant) and also work service here and there (plating up as the tickets come in) so there are different forms of "getting in the zone." When I have a ton of tickets racking up, the stress and adrenaline gets me there. I love plating up artistic, creative desserts and I love the stress that comes along with tickets piling up while the kitchen is full of energy.

As for production - I love getting to work early in the am and seeing my list of prep for the day. I love being there alone with my thoughts, listening to some music and banging out my jobs. I've said this here before, but I think having the ability to create all of these different types of things with the same ingredients is amazing. Like, we use flour, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and BS or BP, or some combination of those things in pretty much everything, yet we can create SUCH different things, from a sponge cake to a scone to a cookie to a bagel to a baguette all using science of different ratios and mixing techniques, timing. It's almost like being a mad scientist or a magician. When you look at it that way it's so exciting and fulfilling to see what you can create. I fucking love it

WadeGarrettWannabe3 karma

What is the best tasting simple baking recipe you have?

kendrickllama12 karma

I have a ton - Give me a category - cakes, breakfast items, pastries, breads

Haf-to-pee3 karma

The softest, tenderest cake I ever tried is called "Chiffon". Only had it that one time, but haven't seen it anywhere since. Do you ever make this, and what's the secret?

kendrickllama16 karma

I've never made this at work, but I have had it before and love it. It's like a tastier, fattier angel food cake haha. It needs to be cooled upside down so it doesn't fall flat. The egg whites need to be beaten to perfect stiff peaks before adding in the rest of the ingredients to make the cake really fluffy

JediJofis2 karma

What is the strangest request you've ever received for a cake?

kendrickllama111 karma

No gluten, No Soy, No Eggs... We were like ummmmm, fruit in the shape of a cake it is? Some people don't know what is necessary to make a basic cake

zhalo8 karma

I have a friend whose child was born with some very serious lifelong medical issues. He has critical dietary restrictions. He gets a meatloaf cake each year. They use mashed potatoes to "ice" it.

kendrickllama14 karma

haha that's amazing. I feel bad for him though :(

aurora18822 karma

Have you had any sort of training? What time do you have to be at work in the mornings?

kendrickllama14 karma

I'm a pastry school drop out. I've learned everything I know working in restaurants

kendrickllama13 karma

Also - I get in between 5 and 6

futt2 karma

Do you make anything low carb?

kendrickllama115 karma

lol, no. If you're eating out at a restaurant and think you know how many calories/carbs/fat you're eating, double it

SebastianBacchanalia2 karma

You mentioned the kitchen drama earlier in the thread. Got any sweet stories?

kendrickllama13 karma

The best thing you can do is write a positive review on yelp, tripadvisor etc. We all read that stuff although we hate to admit it. Nothing makes me feel better than seeing good things about things I've baked. Makes me feel all warm and tingly

randomderpydude2 karma

If you make something with chocolate in it where does the chocolate come from? Is it the oh so famous Belgian chocolate?

kendrickllama11 karma

Valrhona is the best

HydroTherapy19522 karma

Have you been on Chopped yet? Gonna be on Chopped?

kendrickllama11 karma

Not yet - and yep, one day :)

sunburst292 karma

What is a dessert you haven't mastered?

kendrickllama13 karma

multi tiered wedding cakes with fondant and sugar flowers. those are a bitch but im getting better

Saguaromatic2 karma

I'm a big sweet-tooth and lover of candy, especially. I recently bought a candy thermometer and started making very basic confections – soft caramel, various fudges, even marshmallows. What are some beginner- or intermediate-level confections that I should try next?

circusofwhiskey2 karma

Not op, and don't know how hard it is to make, but pâte de fruit is delicious.

kendrickllama12 karma

Yep, really delicious. It's not hard either, you just really need to watch the thermometer like a hawk and stir like your life depends on it. If you leave it sitting for a few seconds little burnt pieces will start floating around (you will not be able to get them out) and you'll have to start over. Annoying AF

kendrickllama11 karma

try nougat, its fairly intermediate and really good - pate de fruit too

tamethewild1 karma

will you feed me?

kendrickllama11 karma

Of course

bodegas1 karma

How's the weather?

kendrickllama11 karma

Haaaa. The past two days have been a disaster

AmazingZebra1 karma

If you live four hours away how are you getting to work?

kendrickllama11 karma

I don't live four hours away. I actually live quite close.... but I'm just giving an example of what the reality is for most people

JezzaN11 karma

if you could pick one dish to recommend to a very amateur cook that has the lowest risk:highest reward, what would it be? something that will be impressive yet also something that i probably won't fuck up would be perfect.

kendrickllama15 karma

Probably a molten chocolate cake... It's super easy to make (only has like 5 or 6 ingredients) and always tastes amazing (Make sure you have very high quality dark chocolate around 60-70%)

justforthelulzz1 karma

I recently bought a Magimix food processor. I think its an amazing piece of kitchen equipment and very versatile. Do you have any recipes that make good use of it? If that is not your thing could you tell me an intermediate level dessert that would be good to impress someone?

kendrickllama11 karma

I'm not too familiar with that particular food processor. The only thing we use robot coupes for at work are shredding various fruits, veggies, and butter. Does it have a bunch of cool attachments? Tell me more!

justforthelulzz1 karma

There loads of different attachments. Apart from your usual chopping blade it can knead dough, whisk eggs, rice potatoes (but that attachment is quite costly) and it also has an attachment to make batters and smoothies finer by creating a vortex in the bowl. You should check it out. And what about the recipe?

kendrickllama12 karma

Wow, sounds awesome. Might have to check that out. I'd suggest making cream puffs or eclairs. Choux pastry is intermediate and pretty fun to make and can be filled with a million types of things. Always garnish whatever you make to impress. I suggest some edible gold leaf, raspberry lightly showered in 10x sugar, and some micro basil. Choux pastry is pretty standard and only has a few ingredients

ice1091 karma

Best pastry place in the city to take my gf that won't set me back an arm and a leg?

kendrickllama13 karma

Chikalicious - dessert tasting menu. Expensive, but not over the top and you don't have to pay for a whole dinner as well ;) Get the cheesecake

lucynoceu1 karma

Do you think Seafood is a good idea for a restaurant in a big city?

Hugs from Brazil

kendrickllama11 karma

Sure, why not

CollegeDistraction1 karma

What do you think about the current obsession with Cupcakes?.

kendrickllama13 karma

Already on its way out....

rubes61 karma

More general restaurant questions, having read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential:

Is hollandaise really that bad? Are weekend specials really just the leftovers of everything else that wasn't sold? Any suggestions on a great puff pastry chicken pot pie? Thanks!

kendrickllama11 karma

Yeah, hollandaise is literally all butter. And, in terms of specials, when you dine at a good restaurant, there will be a lot of customers so there will always be fresh food coming in every day and constant turnover. Any leftover food we have from specific parties or events is directly used for family meal (staff meal) and will never end up on your plate. I can't speak for some lower tier restaurants but we definitely don't do that

rubes61 karma

Sorry, let me rephrase about the hollandaise. My perception is that the health standards of keeping the sauce at the right temperature to avoid bacteria or other food-borne illnesses are often neglected with that sauce, hence why Bourdain never orders the Benedict. Have you noticed this as a health issue in any of the restaurants of which you have been a part?

kendrickllama12 karma

Oh, sorry! Read that wrong. Chefs should be making small batches consistently in order to hold to safety standards. Due to our high volume, we go through hollandaise pretty fast, so someone is usually making a small batch at least once every hour. I can't speak for other places, but that's what I've witnessed where I work. A few other places I've worked haven't upheld to the same health codes as my current workplace, but I've never seen any blatant mishandling of food. Also, many restaurants use pasteurized egg yolks. We do such a high turnover of people and have only had 1 complaint, and that was for a severe nut allergy (when we had already informed the guest that we do not operate a nut-free kitchen). I think it also depends on the person. My SO is also a chef and is so careful with everything she puts in her mouth. She won't eat any potentially contaminated food or any food that has sat out, while I am the complete opposite and literally will eat something that has been sitting out for days. Bourdain may just be one of those people, you know?

rockrib1 karma

Two questions, if I may. I started baking a year ago and have gotten pretty not bad. I make really good Swiss meringue buttercream but every time I make IMBC I screw it up and it goes down the drain. So, is the difference between the two worth wasting all these eggs until I get it? Second, what are your thoughts on Cook's Illustrated?

kendrickllama11 karma

For most things swiss and italian buttercream are interchangeable, its just personal preference. I prefer swiss buttercream. What happens when you try to make italian? You must use a candy thermometer to make sure the sugar syrup (sugar & water) are at the right temp (soft ball stage). Make sure you froth up the egg whites until soft peaks before adding in the sugar syrup (look at pictures or youtube videos to make sure your whites are right). Add the syrup in VERY SLOWLY and directly down the side of the bowl in a steady, light stream. Don't pour it directly into the eggs. As soon as all the liquid is inside the whites, rev up the mixer to medium speed and leave it until it its all cooled down (touch under the bottom of the bowl). Also- you need to use it as soon as it cools down or itll set up pretty quickly. Let me know if you have any other questions :)

edquestioner1 karma

I went to pastry school. It was 1.5 year study and training. So it happened that i didnt liked job. But i like making things at home, at my own phase. Only thing is that i cant make everything i could at workshop.

What are some thing you like and dont like about your job?

kendrickllama12 karma

Likes - It's a fun job that allows me to be creative. I'm not the type of person who can sit at a desk all day, so being able to walk around and complete different hands-on projects is awesome. I love my coworkers and find that it's nice to be able to be yourself and have fun while you work without having to be serious 90% of the work day for customers. It's a lot of responsibility but there's an instant reward seeing something you just made go out to a table of people who are about to eat it - instant gratification. Also- there is a lot of flexibility with this type of career. Jetting off to Paris, Spain or Italy for a year to study other cuisines or taking a six month break and traveling is pretty common.

Dislikes: long hours, waking up early. The job is physically demanding, so I don't know how chefs do it past 50ish. It's hard to find a lot of people in one place who really care about the job, because a lot of kitchen jobs are entry level. And obviously, the money

edquestioner1 karma

What do you eat at your job during day?

Do you get any breaks?

kendrickllama11 karma

We have family meal in the morning and we all pretty much pick at things other people are making all day

Positron3111 karma

Which pastry do you like to eat, and which one do you like to cook the best?

Also, please share with us pictures of your latest work.

kendrickllama12 karma

I'm a sucker for cookies - shortbreads are my favorite. Also, bread in general. There is nothing in general than a hot baguette out of the oven slathered in butter. Bonus: cheese danishes, they have been my weakness since I was little

Positron3111 karma

There is nothing in general than a hot baguette out of the oven slathered in butter.

Very true. But in my opinion, the best French bread is the croissant. So buttery and soft.

I'm a sucker for cookies - shortbreads are my favorite.

Same. I love my shortbread cookies.

kendrickllama13 karma

Yesssss croissants too, how could I forget

Gaminggranny1 karma

Can you help with meringue topping on cream pies? Mine look wonderful and taste greAt but there is always a layer of slime between topping and filling. I have tried topping a hot filling and a cold filling but I get the same results

kendrickllama12 karma

What type of meringue are you using? I would suggest using Italian and piping it on while the filling is really hot

Gaminggranny1 karma

Thanks for replying. Southern? 3 egg whites, beat stiff, 1tablespoon sugar per egg, pinch of cream of tarter.

kendrickllama13 karma

You should try a new meringue recipe. Usually the italian meringue will hold up best when piped onto a hot pie. It's a little harder to make but it will work way better. Even swiss would be better than what you're using - Because you haven't brought the sugar syrup (italian) or the egg whites/sugar (swiss) up to temperature and back down, it will never be stiff enough to properly hold on top of a hot pie. Look up a simple italian meringue recipe - you will need a thermometer and it may take a few tries to get it right, but you'll get used to it and it will work way better

lmi61 karma

Hi! Thanks for doing this AMA! Do you have a good cookie recipe that wouldn't be too hard to replicate?

kendrickllama11 karma

Check your inbox and let me know how it is :)

Enron_Energy1 karma

Do little differences in oven temperature make a significant difference? (e.g. 449 and 450). I know that water won't freeze and water won't boil, but does it affect pastries and other baked things?

kendrickllama11 karma

Unless you're making something in which you are using a candy thermometer for precise measurements, such as jam, pate de fruit, certain caramels, candies, etc, small increments won't make a big difference

glidepath1 karma

Have you ever been asked to come out and meet some diners? I asked for the chef at Del Posto to come out for my friend's birthday dinner and the Pastry Chef came out... he was awesome and brought all kinds of super fancy pastries and confections!

kendrickllama11 karma

I'm not the executive pastry chef but she does go out on occasion to greet tables for "important" people. I like talking to people so I wouldn't mind but we're always so busy that sometimes it's really annoying to be dragged away from a task that needs attention

xTopsyKretx1 karma

Have you ever been scolded by a customer for making something they didn't like like design-wise?

kendrickllama12 karma

Not directly, no. People have posted reviews on various websites claiming some desserts were better than others, or something wasn't what they liked. You can't please everyone and you never know who made a certain batch of what or if the person plating it up messed it up. So many hands touch each dessert is some form that it's so easy to mess up somewhere along the line. Which is why you need to hire good people

Anablue1 karma

What celebrity occassions have you baked for ?

kendrickllama11 karma

We've had a few celeb events this year ranging from birthdays and weddings to baby showers and holiday parties. Can't name the celebs due to disclosure agreements but we've had quite a few. At one of my old jobs we hosted an event for a certain famous model who was such a bitch she almost got slapped by our sous chef

croixdechavaux1 karma

Is it true that many pastry contain gelatin? If yes, do you know if it is made with some meat or some chemicals?

kendrickllama13 karma

Yeah, we use gelatin quite a bit.... To be honest I don't really know what is in it but it is crucial to many recipes so I don't really think about it

croixdechavaux2 karma

Thanks for your answer. In which recipes will I certainly find some gelatin ? (I'm a vegetarian and it would really help to know what I am eating when I chose a delicious dessert).

kendrickllama11 karma

lemon meringue tarts, some caramels, it really depends. When you go to a restaurant make sure you ask because it really depends on the chef and the recipe

TheAskRedditor1 karma

What's your favorite pastry?

kendrickllama12 karma

Freshly baked baguette, croissant, or shortbread cookies

xnewport1 karma

What is the weirdest thing a customer has demanded for you to do in the kitchen?

kendrickllama11 karma

We were asked to make a chocolate cake without chocolate because the woman didn't want her son eating chocolate. We were like.......um what. Turns out she wanted vanilla cake dyed brown so she could tell her son the cake was chocolate. People are so strange

Hotdogsandhotdogs0 karma

There is cum in most of the food I eat, right?

kendrickllama12 karma

surprisingly, no. We're pretty strict with wearing gloves and being clean. It's expected when you work at a good place

Hotdogsandhotdogs1 karma

That's a let down.

kendrickllama12 karma

I'd say the only issue is cross contamination. If you're highly allergic to nuts you're pretty much screwed

2cool4life0 karma

Do you still like to eat Pastries?

kendrickllama12 karma

Much less than I used to, but I do have a sweet tooth. Most people in pastry get over sweet things in a year or two of working. I'm pretty much almost there as well

2cool4life1 karma

That's what I was wondering.

Can you trade Pastries for food from other restaurants?

kendrickllama11 karma

Like bring my pastries and ask for free food? haha not sure that's how it works

2cool4life0 karma


Like Taco Bell and Pizza Hut employees trade food.

Maybe you would trade with Nobu.

I don't think that is how that world works though.

I think people have "money".

This question is over.


kendrickllama12 karma

hahahaha I'm actually sitting here laughing. I'm going to bring some muffins to Jean Georges tomorrow and see what happens

harlequinix0 karma

Mario or Sonic?

kendrickllama12 karma