DESSERT-WARE:

Granted, a take on Rihana's hit "Cake", I assumed it was a t-shirt devoted to the best thing on earth- CAKE! Private Party has tons of t-shifts, tanks, and sweatshirts with the latest tag lines. Always a conversation starter. 

http://shopprivateparty.com/collections/t-shirts

http://shopprivateparty.com/collections/t-shirts

HIGH TECH:

Isn't she a beaut? Don't let looks fool you- this easy and inexpensive shaved ice machine can really do the trick.  I got her after Pastry Chef Dana Cree told me magically stories of the softest granita you have ever seen this side of the Mississippi by using this hand cranked machine.  Of course, I got this from Amazon Prime- and boom!  Two days later I was making delicate shaved ice for one of my plated desserts.  A must have toy for any pastry shop.

STRESS-FREE ZONE:

I had read an article about how to destress after a long day of work.  I came across a remark about adult coloring books and how they can create a sense of calm.  A coloring book?  Really- that can calm me after a long crazy brunch service?  Sure- I'll give it a try.  I got on my Amazon Prime and ordered one Swear Word Adult Coloring Book right up and a 42 pack of Prisma Color pencils to boot.  I will say it does calm me down.  Or perhaps its the bottle of wine that I drink while coloring the word "Wanker."

GETTING A COOKIE EDUCATION:

For the comprehensive book on all things cookie- “Cookie Love” by Mindy Segal.  I love this book so much that I purchased this book for all my bridesmaids and every birthday gift of 2015. Word.

HEY MR. DJ:

Nothing beats the mornings when you get the kitchen to yourself.  Grab your morning beverage, check out your prep list, and put on the tunes. Listening to music while I work is one of the best perks of my job.  Recently, I received an amazing wedding gift:  a Marshall blue tooth speaker.  It sounds amazing with different dials for bass, volume, and treble.  It doesn't look so shabby either.

#NAILED IT:

It is my personal challenge to find the perfect gift.  This year it was my goal to get my sous chef the PERFECT gift for the holidays.  And boy- did I crush it.  You can get customized wooden rolling pins with imprints of cats (yes, please!) or your own name on Etsy at Valek Rolling Pins.  As I lovingly call my sous chef #JEWELS it only made sense that she must have this on her very own rolling pin for making cookies for her family. 

Sous Chef #JEWELS with her new rolling pin  

Sous Chef #JEWELS with her new rolling pin

 

DRESS UP:

Its hard not to look bland in the kitchen- black pants, white chef jacket, clunky black chef shoes- how can I possibly feel like I look presentable when I can't express my own personal style.  One word: APRON. Chefs love their fancy one of a kind- made just for me aprons, and this one is my apron spirit animal.

You can get this at www.michellelesniak.com/

From Michellelesniak.com

From Michellelesniak.com

IF WE ARE GOING TO BE SERIOUS:

You want to bake like a professional?  Step one.  Buy a scale. 

SPOT OF TEA:

I am a tea fanatic.  I have 15 different canisters of tea in my house open at all times.  But nothing comes close to Rare Tea Cellars Crema Earl Grey. It is pleasantly floral, heavy on the bergamont, and ends with a sultry creamy finish. Not only is this tea amazing, but the man behind the leaf is just as magical.  I have known Rod for about eight years.  Originally we just had an email relationship- as I was the one in charge of ordering all the tea for The Penninsula: Chicago.  I told him of my love of tea and he would send me samples of teas from all over the world.  I will never forgot the moment I actually met the man- I believe I hugged him without warning and ever since that moment I go to Rod for inspiration- asking him what new products he is excited about or anything that I might be overlooking.  But still after all this time- Crema Earl Grey is my all time favorite tea- it is pure perfection.

MY PASTRY BIBLE:

Words can not express the importance of this book to me. Claudia Flemming is my Judy Bloom.  I pour over this book for hours with complete admiration- the simplicity of her design yet the complicated layers of flavor.  I recall crying when I met her in NYC at a Star Chefs event- that is how much this book changed my life.

BIGGER THE BETTER:

I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped when I saw it.  It was just, so.....BIG!  I was so used to the 5qt that I would be given in most kitchens, that when I held my first 8qt Kitchen Aid bowl- I was in awe.  This can handle so much and more- a truly remarkable upgrade in the life of a pastry chef. 

Meet Samson- the South Congress Pastry Team 8 Quart Kitchen Aid.  We love him.  

Meet Samson- the South Congress Pastry Team 8 Quart Kitchen Aid.  We love him.