Executive Pastry Chef at Acadia in Chicago
Restaurantware Interviewer: As the head pastry chef at critically acclaimed Acadia, how much pressure is there on you to innovate constantly?
Chef Raquel: I hold myself to a very high standards. My menu is successful due to my commitments to culinary commitment to innovative flavors and techniques. I change my menu each season and each season I challenge myself to be better than the last.
Restaurantware Interviewer: You say that the key to your popularity is to serve modern dishes with an underlying beat of classic taste profile. What is your most recent culinary example of this style?
Chef Raquel: I’m currently running a dessert that’s has caneles and puff pastry. Both are very traditional items presented in a very modern way.
Restaurantware Interviewer: As a young chef establishing your name, who have been your culinary mentors and idols?
Chef Raquel: Laurent Gras, Sherry Yard, Pierre Herme — it’s a long list!
Restaurantware Interviewer: You’re very involved in the pastry chef community, tell me about your involvement with the Pastry Chef Council and organizations related to Jimmy McMillan.
Chef Raquel: It’s a small and tight net community so it’s an honor to be involved with such great events.
Restaurantware Interviewer: Creative people are inspired by everything around them, as a company based in Miami, RestaurantWare integrates the simplicity that beachy days bring into simple bamboo servingware. How does the city of Chicago inspire the dishes that you concept?
Chef Raquel: I inspire myself with the seasons in Chicago, because you feel the weather change so sensorly, you can’t help but to be inspired by it.
Restaurantware Interviewer: As a wholesale distributor, we applaud your recent efforts to increase accessibility to your intricate desserts. How has your guest population responded to this offering?
Chef Raquel: The dessert tasting offered at the bar of our restaurant has been a huge success bringing in new guests daily.
Restaurantware Interviewer: Are sustainable cooking considerations integral in the decisions you make in the kitchen?
Chef Raquel: Yes, I strongly believe in seasonality. I personally work with local farmers to populate the items on our menu.
Restaurantware Interviewer: How important is the serving moment for the items you serve to guests, what influences your plating approach?
Chef Raquel: I always look for aesthetic and functionality with plates and plating efforts.
Restaurantware Interviewer: What’s next for you as a chef?
Chef Raquel: My goal is to build a pastry empire!
Restaurantware Interviewer: What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?
Chef Raquel: A honeycrisp apple straight from the tree! I was at Michigan’s Seedling Farm yesterday enjoying their Fall festival.