I’ve been playing a lot lately in the realm of pastry. It’s a perfect theater to experiment with hydrocolloid and new techniques.

During my days on MasterChef, I was admittedly over driven by technique- I was under the impression that the more I manipulated the ingredients the more impressed the judges would be… That was clearly not the case.

This learning was a big one for me. Since then, I have cut back drastically in my use of modern techniques at home… But every now and then, you have to play.

I was at a restaurant in Phoenix recently as had a celery root purée. It was sweet… Probably too sweet for the savory plate it was on, but it inspired me. Celery root in a dessert may be delicious.

Ants on a log immediately came to mind… A childhood snack of celery sticks, peanut butter and raisins. Although this snack played a almost non-existent role in my childhood snacking it seemed like a solid reference point of flavors to work from. I started brain storming.

This is what I came up with:


Peanut butter semi fredo, candied celery root, celery leaves, peanut butter powder, freeze dried grape, freeze dried grape powder, raisin purée, mezcal water gel, mezcal hydrated saltanas, celery foam, celery “doughnut”.

A couple cool things/techniques

Fresh peanut butter: simply peanuts, a little oil, and a little sugar in my Vitamix. A game changer!

Celery foam: celery blended in Vitamix and strained through a fine chinois, 1% lecithin by weight.

Celery “doughnut”: celery pulp (left over from juice above, ultratex 8, dehydrate, fry, granulated sugar.

Freeze dried grape powder: freeze dried grapes (available in many grocery stores, look for “just grapes” brand. Blended into a fine powder in Vitamix, nzorbitZ used as anti-clumping agent.

Low-temp mezcal water gel: evaporated in rotovap, made into agar fluid gel.

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