Raymond Morales / Pastry Chef, Gigi’s, Los Angeles, California
Never underestimate a culture of learning, encouragement and mentorship in the kitchen. Raymond Morales, Pastry Chef of the now closed Bar Restaurant in Silver Lake, California, credits several mentors for his success in the kitchen. He began working in the food industry in 2007 as a third-tier pastry assistant under Nancy Silver Bacon, who now owns Snooklefritz Ice Cream in Chicago and taught him about traditional French and Italian-style desserts. Chef Robert Tarlow introduced Raymond to real fine dining and modern techniques. “He helped direct me towards the style of cooking I continue to do this day,” Raymond says.
Next, the well-known Southern California Chef Paul Shoemaker helped Raymond understand what being a chef really means. “He showed me the ethics behind it as well as the responsibilities it entails in regards to building the future of food not only for yourself but for the people working with you,” Raymond says. “He taught me how to be a mentor and a leader in the kitchen.”
Bar Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Doug Rankin, worked under Chef Ludo Lefebvre, another chef who’s said publicly how much he cherishes his training with some of France’s greatest kitchen experts.
Something else Raymond learned about from his mentors is The Perfect Purée. “I’ve used The Perfect Purée throughout my whole career for sorbets, sherbets, pâte de fruit, gels, fruit leathers, dehydrated chips and tuiles,” he says.
Raymond described Bar Restaurant’s menu as inventive “neo-bistro food with global influences.” One reviewer says it gives European classics the California treatment. Owner Jeff Ellermeyer says it’s “in the family of the reimagined dining movement happening in Paris.”
Bar Restaurant’s contemporary interior in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles is filled with flowers and art, the perfect backdrop for Raymond’s vibrant Mango Espelette Sorbet. Styled in a modernist shape that matches the restaurant’s aesthetic, it incorporates Espelette powder for a hint of spice to balance the sweetness of The Perfect Purée Mango Puree. Raymond uses The Perfect Purée Passion Fruit Concentrate for a frozen curd and in a passion fruit “glass” for a summery strawberry parfait.
“The consistency of the flavor is amazing,” Raymond says. “When I use a purée I always know it’s going to be exactly the same as the last time I used it and it minimizes the amount of time and effort I have to do to get the flavor profile I’m looking for.”