Photo Credit: Peter Pioppo

Will Goldfarb
17 Cleveland Pl
New York, NY 10012
(212) 941-5405

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Antoinette Bruno: What is your philosophy on pastry?
Will Goldfarb: We sell an idea, rather than just a product.

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Will Goldfarb

Originally from Port Washington, NY, Will Goldfarb started cooking when he worked as a waiter while attending Duke University. To avoid law school, he switched to the field of pastry, and ended up in Paris rather than Southern California. In 2000 Goldfarb formed AKWA with Chefs Kasper Kurdahl, a Danish chef, Ruben Garcia, a pastry chef from el Bulli, and Davide Scabin, the innovative Italian chef of Combal.Zero (then Al Combal) in Torino. The organization called for a global movement to shape the future of cuisine.

Among the world-renowned culinary greats Goldfarb has worked with are Gerard Mulot, Fabio Picchi, Ferran and Albert Adria, Tetsuya Wakuda, Cheong Liew, and Tim Pak Poy. In addition he has served as Pastry Chef for US-based Chefs Craig Shelton at the Ryland Inn in New Jersey, Masaharu Morimoto at Morimoto in Philadelphia, and Tom Gutow of the Castine Inn in Maine. In New York, he teamed up with Paul Liebrandt at Atlas and Papillon, and most recently with Shea Gallante at Cru.

In January 2006 Goldfarb opened Room 4 Dessert, a true dessert bar located in Nolita. Here Goldfarb offers an avant garde menu of edible dessert cocktails, plated desserts and thoughtful wine pairings. With virtually no kitchen to speak of, the pastry chef plates his desserts to order from behind the bar. Each of Goldfarb's desserts is a study in perfect texture and flavor, achieved through modern culinary techniques and processes. Goldfarb has developed Willpowder, his own line of specialty powders, including methylcellulose and sodium alginate, that allow him to experiment with the textures and flavors of his dishes.

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Interview Cont'd
AB: Who are the more influential pastry chefs you’ve worked for?
WG: At Patisserie Mulot in Paris I worked for a great pastry chef who was always the first guy to get there. He cleaned the floor of the shop and always took care of whatever needed to be done. Pierre Gagnaire was an inspiration, although I only worked with him for a day. El Bulli is a three star Michelin restaurant, so of course their pastry kitchen sets the standard for perfection.

AB: What pastry tool can’t you live without?
WG: My spoon! A spoon can be very versatile.

AB: What are your favorite ingredients?
WG: Water, sugar and butter. These three are necessities in my kitchen.

AB: What are your top three tips for pastry success?

    1. Always fold your towels.
    2. Keep your spoon water clean.
    3. Always keep everything at right angles in your station

AB: Who are your pastry heroes?
WG: Albert Adrià from El Bulli, Pierre Herme, who I haven’t worked for, and Frédéric Bau, another great teacher whom I’ve only read.

AB: What are your favorite desserts to eat and to make?
WG: Actually, I don’t like to eat desserts! But I do love the entire process of making vanilla ice cream.

AB: What pastry trends do you see emerging in the industry?
WG: I find that the savory side of the kitchen is becoming more and more influenced by pastry cooking techniques and flavors. Also, less pastry chefs are content to work in kitchen basements and are instead beginning to open their own restaurants.

AB: In what way will these trends manifest themselves in the mainstream?
WG: I think a lot of places that focus in on desserts will be set up like sweet tapas bars.

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   Published: September 2006