Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Miette: Questions for Meg Ray

I have been a huge fan of Miette since it opened in San Francisco over ten years ago and they now have four locations in the Bay Area including Hayes Valley, San Francisco Ferry Building, Marin County Mart and Jack London Square in Oakland. I love the way owner Meg Ray gets the balance of taste and style just right. Miettemeans little crumb in French and her mini interpretationsof iconic french pastries and midcentury American dessert classics are made from the best local ingredients and reimagined in fabulous color combinations. We caught up with Meg to pick her brain about her inspirations and what shes craving on Valentines Day.

What is your earliest pastry memory and what is the first sweet you fell in love with?

My first love was with the eclair, and the romance is still going strong. For Christmas dinner, my family had a cream puff tree, an Americanized version ofCroquembouche. Our version was cream puffs filled with whipped cream and held together withganache. From there I discovered the eclair and it has been my favorite ever since. When I lived in Paris, Id venture into new parts of the city while sampling the neighborhoods eclairs.(Miettes are the best!)

What inspired you to start Miette?

I was inspired by iconic images of cakes, like those seen in childrens books or vintage cook books. I wanted to make small, everyday versions of the cakes using simple, organic ingredients. I just love cakes and pastry, and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love. Cake has always made me happy I think its that simple.

Whats the ingredient or tool you cant live without?

An offset spatula.Indispensable.

Easiest show stopping dessert?

Lemon pudding cake paired with whipped cream and fresh fruit in season and a dollop of jam in the winter. Pudding cake is like a magic trick!

What do you cook when you want to make a special meal at home?

Daube(pot roast). I love braising and the flavors that only be achieved through time. My favorite meals are those that take all day to prepare. I like to put adaubein the oven first thing in the morning and then do other things around the house while warmth and aroma of the slow cooking of the roast keeps me company. My favorite way to serve dinner is with everything on a huge white platter in the center of the table: braised beef, boiled potatoes, baked carrots in a swirl of steam and gravy on the side.

What is the one cake or pastry everyone should perfect/have their arsenal?

A simple layer cake with frosting because nothing is more wonderful than a homemade birthday cake and thepossibilitiesare endless.

What color combos are you obsessed with right now?

Chartreusey-green & sky blue. Or cream & black.

What pastry can you not stop yourself from eating no matter what?


What candy can you not get enough of right now?

Mi-cho-koNoir! The most addictive little caramels from France with a dark chocolate coating.

What are your go-to sources for vintage tabletop, cake plates and kitchen accessories? What are you coveting right now?

I love therestaurantsupply store, the Alameda flea market for vintage kitchenalia and my latest favorite: RakutenGlobal Market.They have an endless and inspiring selection of brooms, enameled metal, and Japanesekitchen equipment.

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