Baltimore Has the ‘Best New Pastry Chef’
Food & Wine named Executive Pastry Chef Chris Ford of Wit & Wisdom, the restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, the People’s Best New Pastry Chef 2012.
Wit & Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina, at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, has been open just a few months, but already the restaurant has much to celebrate: Chris Ford, the Executive Pastry Chef, has been named the inaugural People’s Best New Pastry Chef 2012 by Food & Wine magazine.
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Florida, Ford gained experience in kitchens throughout the Washington, DC, area before making his way to Wit & Wisdom. But critical acclaim is nothing new for Ford. As the pastry chef of Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, Virginia, he was named one of StarChef’s “Rising Stars” in the region.
Ford says his biggest inspiration comes from his grandmother. “I will always remember recipe testing with her when I was a child. Her passion and drive, even at the age of 80, inspire me to this day. Anyone can be a famous chef with a lot of books and accolades, but the love of a grandmother surpasses it all.” He describes his aesthetic as “elegant nostalgia,” and with recipes like an ode to peanut butter and jelly, in the form of brioche macarons filled with cassis jam, we can understand why.
His recipe ideas come from ingredients in their purest form. “I usually start with one specific subject—for example, a peach,” he says. “I think about where I want to go with the peach and how I want to tell the story around the peach, and it snowballs into other ingredients and themes.”
Ford can create elaborate dishes, but his personal favourites tend to the side of simplicity. His favorite dish to make? Ice cream, he says, because “it is a very versatile item and the flavour profiles are endless.” His favourite dish to eat? A salted chocolate chip cookie.
Some of Ford’s specialities at Wit & Wisdom include Maple Custard with Marcona Almond Streusel, Salted Orange Toffee and Bourbon Vanilla; Basil, Lemon and Rosemary with Passion Fruit Daiquiri Perfume; and Bittersweet Chocolate Crème with Crushed Candied Violets.
Hungry yet? Be sure to visit him, and the rest of the Wit & Wisdom team, next time you’re in Baltimore.