Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you definitely know all about my pop-up dinner collaboration with Chef Bryan Gryka, Executive Chef at Milt’s BBQ for the Perplexed in Chicago, and Chef Albert Bijou, manager at Courtside Grill in Long Island. The short story is that Bryan and Albert decided together that Bryan would be doing a pop-up dinner at Courtside on February 1st, the day before his pop-up at Eden Wok in NYC. When I heard all about their collaboration, I offered to help out in some way and they shocked me by actually asking ME to make dessert! I don’t know how you would feel but when two amazing chefs asked this lil’ ole blogger to be a part of their pop-up, I was beyond honored. The truth is that there are many chefs out there who tell me I’m not a chef because I didn’t go to culinary school and there are others that just see me as a food blogger. And you know what??? That’s okay! Because this experience has taught me that I have to believe in myself and my own talent to make it happen. Did putting on my new chefs coat turn me into a chef? I don’t know. Did serving dessert for 65+ people at a pop-up dinner turn me into a chef? I don’t know again! All I know is that I had the time of my life and I am ready to do it again. 6 years of food blogging has made me realize that I have an incredibly strong passion for desserts and I want to keep building from here. Yes, I am actually considering pastry school because I know there is so much I want/need to learn so if any of you have any recommendations in Brooklyn or Long Island, comment below!
Now let’s talk about dessert! I prepared a coconut malabi (recipe below), which is a Mediterranean pudding traditionally flavored with rosewater or orange blossom syrup. I topped the malabi with a butter-free grapefruit curd, toasted coconut and cardamom toasted pistachios. I decorated the plate with candied oranges, grapefruit gummy candies (both recipes below) and a pistachio shortbread cookie. I am still on cloud nine and I am loving all of the positive feedback!!!! So yeah, you can keep it coming. I love the compliments!
I based my dessert on the menu developed by Bryan and Albert. Albert served a tuna and yellowtail poke with grilled pineapple to begin the meal. Bryan killed it with a creamy wild mushroom soup, mustard green and citrus salad with house cured kosher bacon and smoked pepitas, smoked duck pancakes (my favorite) and braised lamb shoulder stew. I decided to end the meal with a citrus inspired dessert that I felt would compliment their dishes. I definitely nailed it!
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BIG shout out to Bryan and Albert for making me feel right at home in the kitchen. You gave me the confidence (and the liquid courage) I needed to succeed and I had such a blast working with you both. I hope we get the chance to do this again.