Model Pastry Girl: the Brave Tart, Stella Parks
By Kakie Urch
This Year’s Model: Battle Pastry Chef winner is hands down Stella Parks, the brilliant, CIA-trained woman behind the desserts at Table Three Ten.
But you can call her Bravetart.
With her desserts featured in the November issue of Food and Wine magazine, the “Ace Best of Lexington Best Decadent Desserts” crown on her head, and her food blog “The Bravetart” going strong, Parks has just celebrated her first full year at Lexington’s popular Short Street small plates restaurant.
In the last year, she spent her first six months running a pastry kitchen with one burner and one oven (and for a long time, one pot, which was shared with the savory chef); a freezer-fail that destroyed two weeks of work (including 200 sweet potato ice cream sandwiches); and an oven blowup that meant no oven for three months.
Parks’ desserts have names like Sweet Potato Doughnuts, Blueberry Violette Tarts, Candy Corn Panna Cotta, Fauxreos, Brown Butter Sage Marshmellows, Mint Julep Panna Cotta and Pear Layer Cake. Each is original to the Table Three Ten blackboard and after it makes its appearance there, is also in the Recipe Box at her blog.
She ferried Spalding’s donuts to the Serious Eats HQ in NYC (where she is a frequent contributor), garnering more national reverie for the local donut legend. In a December post for Serious Eats, she deconstructs the McDonald’s Egg Nog shake (13 ingredients in the cherry on top) writing “any dessert that can accommodate a few ounces bourbon seems like the very definition of Happy Holidays to me. Not that McDonald’s Egg Nog shake is alcoholic. Just that, well, it should be. And hey, at least I had the decency to wait until December actually rolled around to get my Christmas Spirit on.”
The woman makes her own sprinkles. She can go Gluten Free (GF) if need be. She tweets @thebravetart.
A recent post to her Bravetart food blog — a FoodBuzz site — “Macarons Are For Eating” provided a fear-reducing approach to the macaron — a food dive with a significant degree of difficulty. Her recipes also appear at GiltTaste.com; check out her historic Red (Wine) Velvet Cake.
She’s so passionate that you bake by weight and not volume that she’s sponsoring a scale giveaway at her blog (deadline to enter December 18).
Parks is the pastry chef’s pastry chef. Her desserts are imbued with creativity, surprises, and an exquisite balance of textures and flavors. She’s Kentucky-raised, CIA-trained, and this year’s culinary model.
Save room for dessert.
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