While attending the International Wine and Food Fest‘s Grand Cru tasting last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting David Guas of Damgoodsweet Consulting Group. I was drawn to his table after Bonnie Benwick insisted I try his delightful Chèvre Cheesecake. And delightful it is! With a slight tang from the goat cheese and a hint of a kick from the peppercorns, this is a dessert with a serious WOW factor! Serve it at your next dinner party and your guests are sure to be asking for the recipe… and leftover cheesecake to take home! (David was nice enough to share the recipe – see below!!!)
Oh, I almost forgot – David’s delightful too! Serving up his cheesecakes in a seer-sucker chef’s coat (I was swooning over the coat!), David was telling attendees about the upcoming opening of Bayou Bakery, his next culinary adventure where people will be able to stop by and pick up good ole’ southern desserts (think New Orleans) and even grab a bite for lunch!
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
I think I’m torn between my propane torch and my hand held immersion blender. The torch, it seems, I use for a lot of little things. I use it for removing air bubbles from unbaked brûlées and custards, caramelizing sugar, and heating up the sides of my electric mixer’s bowl while creaming butter and sugar or while making buttercream.
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Soufflés, hands down. I don’t know what the big deal is with them. I’ve made them for over 12 years and people love them. Maybe I’m just burnt out from making them.
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
It would, and will soon be, a tribute to my home state, Louisiana. I will be opening a place called Bayou Bakery which will primarily focus on the sweets of my childhood and have a few non-sweets as well for the lunch crowd.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
As simple as he says it is to produce, I love Pipedream Farms fresh Chèvre curd. It has the perfect saltiness and texture. Brad Parker, the owner, is a genuine guy and loves what he does and he really seems to enjoy his relationship with his clients (mostly chefs).
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
When a guest says, “It’s not right,” or, “It tastes off.” After being asked what’s wrong with it or to elaborate, they don’t know how to or they give you nothing in the way of detailed and intelligent feedback. Boy, do I sound bitter!
What do you drink/eat after work?
Bourbon or beer to drink and anything fried or slow cooked (braised).
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
I love making pizza with my two boys, Kemp and Spencer. Something about the dough and watching them try to toss it up in the air just makes me laugh. I also love to make turkey meatballs and fresh pasta (my wife doesn’t eat pork or beef).
Pepper-Port Syrup, Pine Nut and Rosemary Crisp
David Guas, Chef Owner
Damgoodsweet Consulting Group, LLC
yields 12 4-ounce portions
4 ounces cream cheese
12 ounces fresh chèvre
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups crème fraîche
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 each vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 sheets gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt