Page 14 - foodservice magazine August 2019
P. 14

“Dessert is an affordable luxury,” says Melbourne pastry chef and owner of Glacé dessert bars Christy Tania. “It’s not a necessity, but it’s something that resinates with luxury and enjoyment. So to heighten that experience, it has to look good.”
As a totally new restaurant concept in Melbourne, Tania admits it was a struggle getting people through the doors initially. They were charging $25 a plate, and had to justify the cost by making elaborate desserts with 20 elements – à la Masterchef challenges. But now, with the sweet market swelling, desserts both complex and classic are in demand.
“Cooking shows like Masterchef capture the wow-factor and the complexities in desserts,” says Reynold Poernomo, 2015 Masterchef contestant and chef-owner at Koi Dessert Bar and Dining, which opened after his spectacular desserts in the competition made him a season favourite. “Coming off Masterchef ... of course it’d only make sense to do a dessert bar first. Desserts seem to be the go to these days.”
Poernomo says diners are more switched on about food than ever before, and having easy access to information is helping broaden our knowledge.
“People’s behaviour and the way they learn about food relies heavily on social media these days,” adds Messina Creative Department head chef Remi Talbot. “For this reason, we create lots of content for the Creative Department to show people our dishes and behind the scenes so people know what to expect when they come.”
Since Gelato Messina’s degustation restaurant opened in 2016, Talbot says demand has increased. It’s not all dessert, but it is all ice- cream – the chefs create an eight-course meal of sweet and savoury gelato.
“We know how much people love gelato, so the Creative Department is like the next
step to this. It takes desserts to a whole new level and makes them into a meal,” he says.
Dessert is no longer subordinate to the main course; it’s become an entire cuisine with its own bubbling industry.
“The industry is seeing a greater focus on the need to have exceptional desserts on their menus,” says Sharon Altman, cookery team leader at TAFE NSW, where hundreds of new pastry chefs are created each year.
“The interest in patisserie courses has definitely increased over the last ten years, with more students wanting to complete TAFE NSW qualifications,” she adds.
Since Om Nom’s opening in 2013, dozens of dessert-dedicated venues have popped
up around Melbourne, Sydney and beyond, and the pressure to create a relevant dessert offering is mounting.
Tania says the key to a good sweet offering, regardless of the venue, is to always consider what the diner has eaten before.
If that wasn’t at your venue, ask them, and make sure your dessert menu has options for every palate and stomach.
“We want [guests] to be surprised, challenged and involved to the experience we offer,” adds Talbot, who believes dessert is the pinnacle of any meal and what diners look forward to the most.
Poernomo says that to finish a meal,
the last thing you want is a pile of sugar. “Balance and explore unique flavour pairings or concepts,” he says. And remember, not everything has to be chocolate.
Clockwise from left: Luxbite’s boba and custard croissant. One of the eight courses in a degusation at Messina Creative Department. Glacé’s Black Forest Bombe Alaska.

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