If you're a dessert-lover, you'll love this dessert from Black Hen's pastry chef Linda West. See her story below.
Go ahead - drool a little over the Chocolate Caramel Mousse Bombe, made exclusively inside the Black Hen kitchen. Directly from the online menu, Chef Linda West makes this incredible dessert with a grand marnier crème brulee center, crispy chocolate praline wafer, and raspberry sauce on the plate (pictured above, though with a candied mango on top).
As soon as Linda told me the story of how she came upon this recipe, I knew I wanted to share it. Linda's previous experience (found in the July/August issue's Flavor column) is impressive, even moreso after her stint in Las Vegas. It was here she found her signature dessert, though it didn't come without a lot of hard work.
"I was working at Le Cirque at the Bellagio and this was back in 2001. The pastry chef was Gregory Garreau and he grew up working for Francois Payard's Dad's bakery in the Loire Valley, then on to Daniel Boulud's in NYC," says West.
When Linda saw his creation of the chocolate bombe, she knew immediately she wanted to learn how to make it. The chef told her that he could not share his recipe with her! As it turns out, he had worked hard to gain the recipe from one of his own mentors and wound up working for free for several months in order to gain the coveted information.
Linda challenged herself with the same offer by going into work each day a few hours early, with the same stipulation that those hours would go unpaid. Months later, her hard work paid off as the chef finally shared his impressive recipe for the beautiful dessert. Talk about a hard-earned piece of information!
Chef Garreau is now at Caesar's Palace at Francois Payards Pattiserie, while Linda is the proprietor and pastry chef of The Black Hen & Bar Blue in Blacksburg, VA.
For more information on the Black Hen, including sample menu, FAQs, and more, visit their website at blackhen.com.