Thursday, January 27, 2011

Megan Garrelts, Part Two: Why Bluestem is a creme brulee-free zone

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Colby and Megan Garrelts opened Bluestem in 2004.
  • Colby and Megan Garrelts opened Bluestem in 2004.

Yesterday, Bluestem's co-owner and pastry chef Megan Garrelts talked about how her experiences around the country made her the chef she is today (click here for the interview).  Today, she talks about reality television, why savory chefs are afraid of dessert, and whether any stereotypes about pastry chefs are actually true.
 

The one dessert you'll never make at Bluestem? Creme brulee. I hate it. It seems to be going away. It's supposed to be evenly bruleed. It's really just eggs and cream in a bowl. You can't build anything around it. All you can really do is serve linzer cookies and warm stewfruit. It's not that interesting. I always order it and am disappointed. [Husband, co-owner and chef] Colby always orders clams, olive oil and angel hair pasta. But he's always disappointed because it's linguine or covered in Alfredo sauce. It's not light. With creme brulee, the sugar is burnt, or the custard is overcooked or curdled on the inside. When they're good, they can be great.

The rules of conduct in your kitchen? Cleanliness. Organization. I'm a list person. I use highlighters. You will have a list from me somewhere. Colby never does his list. You have to be organized in setting up. Everything has to be done a certain way.

The most essential kitchen utensil? A good peeler. A complete set of ring cutters. Savory cooks are always taking them, and you're missing the one you need. And a mixer. We've broken three or four in the restaurant. The worst day is before I get a new mixer.

Colby and Megan Garrelts opened Bluestem in 2004.
  • Colby and Megan Garrelts opened Bluestem in 2004.
You greatest accomplishment as a chef? I think just finally building the restaurant. We have our own place, and we're not answering to anyone on a food level or business level. It's ours to make it or lose it, to put good food out. I'm proud when we see our food going out and people choose for us for special celebrations. I love seeing people eating together, celebrating together, and coming together for a meal. We had a cranky family in over the holidays, and we were the one thing they could agree on. We gave them a moment to at least find some joy. 

Your worst moment in the kitchen? It was many moments on my internship. I remember one of the hot apps guys taking my bread out and throwing it under the prep cooler while my bread was still baking. I had to figure out how to make it in time for service that was not deflated. Forgotten ingredients. I was originally hired as the head baker for Charlie Palmer's Aureole in Las Vegas, but when I got there, they told me I was the pastry sous chef. I had no idea what that meant. But you just put your head down and go and you'll figure it out. Don't complain or try to debate. Just pay attention and look around.

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