Life has a fascinating way of bringing people together. The cosmos brought Rock Star Pastry Chef Chantal Carter and I together through our mutual love of makeup. We’re both part of a covert gathering of makeup lovers that we’re not even supposed to talk about outside of the group. (Think Fight Club, but with makeup) Anyway, months after “meeting” her online, I discovered she is a pastry chef. How cool is that? Chantal is embarking on a new adventure in her life and as one who has a deep respect for food and an admiration for the stories behind food, I asked her to do an interview with me about how she got started, what inspires her, and where she’s headed in her career. This is the result.
I had to break this interview into two parts because I am going to be using a lot of
food porn pictures of her work and of other relevant tidbits I’ve found on the interwebs. I would like to take this time to thank Chantal for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk to me and I’d like to thank the hoars who contributed the interview questions for this piece. (Interview questions found in part two.)
I was inspired to interview Chantal about what she does after the countless, drool-worth photos of her works I’ve spent hours scrolling through on Facebook, but I was pushed to make it happen after she vented her frustrations about a recently published article on Yahoo about pastry chefs. The ridiculous article, which I can’t even find to link to it, said something about how well-compensated and a happy executive pastry chefs can be. The article implied that all you had to do was go to culinary school and that you could walk into any kitchen and start as an executive pastry chef. This had our dear Chantal livid. Any established chef will tell you that you’re taking an expensive gamble going to culinary school. After graduating from culinary school, Chantal and her husband lived with relatives and commuted an hour to their externship at Providence in Los Angeles, where they both worked for free. Providence now boasts two prestigious Michelin stars, which helped the couple land better jobs in kitchens closer to home.
In short, you don’t go to culinary school and learn how to cook or bake because you want to get rich; you do it because you love it. For Chantal and her husband, they both decided they’d rather “be happy and make no money rather than be miserable with all the money in the world.”
Flash forward ten or so years and both Chantal and her husband are now well established in their careers. Until recently, Chantal was the executive pastry chef at Mister Parker‘s in Palm Springs, CA. In the dark, sexy atmosphere of Mister Parker’s, Chantal had full control of the pastry menu and she was able to create some incredible, unforgettable desserts. Her favorite was something she called Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse.
The dessert is unassuming on the plate when it arrives, but as you cut into it and reveal all the layers, the complexity of this dessert becomes apparent. Chantal describes it as, “We Built This City on Rock & Roll with Chocolate Mousse.” It is the ultimate candy bar with chocolate on the outside, raspberry caramel that oozes out when you cut into it. There is a crunch to it, which is where the peanut butter and it all sits atop a brownie. All of this is underneath an unassuming chocolate glaze. This dessert has earned Chantal some pretty impressive review on Yelp.