I simply can’t tell you how excited I am to share this interview with you! Christina Tosi is one of the hottest and most creative pastry chefs in the game right now. As the pastry chef of the wildly popular Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City, she is definitely inventing new trends that are being adopted everywhere in baking. Her recent cookbook (which includes the recipe for her world famous crack pie!) and her James Beard Award for 2012’s Rising Star Chef of the Year proves that she is a force to be reckoned with. To say I am incredibly grateful that I was able to catch up with Christina, who was overseas when I requested the interview, is an understatement. Below, learn more about her baking inspirations and why everyone is praising Christina for her quirky flavor combos (her cereal milk soft serve ice cream and compost cookies quickly come to mind).
Photo courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar
I like to think I’m a chocolate chip cookie, but obviously I’m more of a cornflake-chocolate chip-marshmallow cookie, seemingly simple, easily gettable.
When did your love of desserts begin?
I have had a sweet tooth since I was a kid. I was a picky eater, and the only certainty in my diet was dessert daily!
The famous crack pie. Photo courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar.
What is your favorite cookbook for desserts?
My favorite is “The Joy of Cooking”. I use it less for exact recipes and more for inspiration and starting points.
If you weren’t a pastry chef, what would you be doing?
I would be teaching math, or I would become a truck driver, or a translator, or a shop keeper.
Birthday Cake. Photo courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar
Are there two flavors that go together well that seem odd but work perfectly?
Two strange flavors that work well together are celery (root or stalks) and strawberry. I also like red hots in ice cream.
Is there anyone in the food industry that you look up to?
I admire Wylie Dufresne, Alex Stupak, and David Chang (owner of the Momofuku restaurant group).
Chocolate Bar Pie. Photo courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar.
What is the best dessert you have ever eaten? Who makes it?
In your opinion, what is the best recipe you ever created? What inspired the recipe?
My best creation is Cereal Milk Panna Cotta with avocado puree, chocolate-hazelnut and cornflake crunch. It’s casual yet refined, with a direction and a point of view. It was inspired by a simple bowl of cereal.
Cereal Milk Panna Cotta. Photo courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything
What is your dessert philosophy?
Have a point of view, make sure it’s clear, and make sure that dessert is the most delicious thing you’ve tasted.
Why is dessert important?
Because it makes people smile.