Yes Martha! You too, Rachel. Get out of the way because Julie Elkind has arrived with far more talent, a brilliant smile and the most creative imagination! Who is Julie Elkind, you ask?

Currently, she’s the Executive Pastry Chef for ESquared Hospitality, the firm that runs BLT Steak. Working out of Manhattan, Julie designs most of the desserts served throughout the chain and does so with incredible skill and style. Her pastry skills are second to none in this writer’s humble opinion and I’d go so far as to put her on a par with Gaston LeNotre.

Having studied pastry at L’Ecole LeNotre in Plaisir, France in my youth, I can say with authority that Julie’s desserts are not merely artistic, but they are masterpieces; works of art of great intrinsic value; and the result of her expressive flair for both flavors and visual craftsmanship.

After more than half-century of desserts have passed these lips, produced by some of the finest pastry chefs around the world, I’ll venture to say that Julie is, by far, the greatest of them all. I’d argue the point with any who dare disagree.  Just one taste of any of her delicious works would prove my point.

Julie Elkind developed her interest in food and love of cooking early on, as a result of growing up with a family full of cooks and bakers, After graduating from the Culinary Academy of New York, Elkind moved to Manhattan where she landed her first kitchen position working for restaurateur Sirio Maccioni at Le Cirque. She then took a position as Lead Pastry Assistant at La Fonda Del Sol and later joined Michael White’s award-winning Convivio as Executive Pastry Sous Chef. At internationally acclaimed ESquared Hospitality, Elkind continues to utilize her knowledge of Italian, French and Spanish flavors to enhance all of the pastries she creates for the restaurants.

Anyone who could start their career working for Sirio has to be near the top of their game from the start.  The kitchens at LeCirque have been crucible for talent, though Sirio never picks from the bottom of the barrel – his protégés are always the crême de la crême.  Le Cirque has helped launch the careers of many illustrious chefs – among them: Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Terrance Brennan, Alain Sailhac, Rick Moonen, Jacques Torres, Sottha Khun, Sylvain Portay, Christophe Bellanca, Michael Lomonaco, Alain Allegretti, Pierre Schaedelin, Bill Telepan, Alex Stratta and Geoffrey Zakarian to name but a few.  Julie certainly ranks up there with these stars of the gastronomic firmament – perhaps the greatest of this stellar cluster, she’s a galaxy class pâtissier.

Let me give you but one example of a dish I had the privilege, honor and darn good luck to try recently.  How I lived to tell the tale, I will never know, for this was heavenly bliss mere mortals do not normally enjoy.  Julie’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse, topped with homemade Banana-Sour Cream ice cream and a tiny Brandy Lace tuile, shown below.

Each spoonful of this divinely-inspired magnum opus is like a taste of love, for one can discern the affection Julie has put into its compilation.   Having tried no less than nine other desserts created by her hand, I am in a unique position to say quite truthfully that Julie’s talents and dessert creations are inspired works of art. You can see she does ganache with panache!

Julie is someone I’d never met before Monday, January 16th when I was experiencing BLT Steak for the first time with a colleague who has been to their property in Hong Kong only recently.  I found her to be one of the smartest, most talented people I’ve met in the world of gastronomy in the nearly 34 years I’ve been involved with the field.  I loved her philosophy: “to find something, a job, that you don’t even feel is like work and can’t believe you get paid to do it… is the first step to being ‘on your way'”.

Well, Julie’s ‘on her way’ and thus we’re saying to the old guard like Martha and Rachel to step quickly out of the way, the new guard is more talented and skilled beyond words. Here’s a list of some of the exemplary desserts by Julie: Carrot Cake with Walnut Brittle, Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Sauce, and Ginger Ice Cream

Banana Fritters with Caramelized Bananas, and Chocolate Salted Dipping Sauce

Caramelized Pumpkin Cheese Cake, with Maple Anglaise, Candied Pecans, and Cream Cheese Sorbet.  Little treats such as Petite Madeleines that melt upon contact with the palate and other creations were just tiny noshes that made perfect accompaniments to your coffee at the end of one fabulous meal.

To experience Julie’s creations, visit BLT Steak at 106 East 57th Street, New York, NY. Be sure to book a reservation;  this eatery is absolutely popular and growing evermore so with superb food, drinks and atmosphere.   Call (212) 752-7470 or visit their website.

Note: We will be doing much more about this fabulous chef! Stay tuned.

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