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Blog posts of '2015' 'December'

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: PIERINO JERMONTI

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Pierino “Perry” Jermonti was born and raised in Italy, and inspired to become a pastry chef at an early age under the guidance of his parents. He then sought out apprenticeships with renowned pastry chefs and eventually moved to the United States to pursue his passion as well as a culinary degree in the pastry arts. Jermonti now has more than 30 years of experience. Prior to joining Terranea Resort in 2009, Jermonti worked in some of Arizona’s top kitchens including the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Wrigley Mansion Club and 8700 at the Citadel.

Jermonti, Executive Pastry Chef at Terranea Resort, who now calls San Pedro home, has also been featured in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and Cucina Italiana. 

INTERVIEW:

As an established Master Pastry Chef what inspires you?
Seasonal ingredients, opera and exercise all inspire me. I love giving classic desserts a creative twist and ideas come to me when I am calm and relaxed outside of the kitchen listening to music or doing exercise. Then I can take those ideas and work out the process and refine the procedure inside of the kitchen where I am very focused. My parents were also a huge inspirational influence on me. I think I was baking before I was walking! We are a family of bakers so making bread and then pastry became very second nature to me. What inspired me early on and continues to be intriguing to me is how to blend flavors uniquely. I like to mix sweet and savory elements to balance out the sugar with the simplicity of the fresh ingredients.

What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with?
My favorite ingredients are citrus, chocolate, caramel and sea salt. On the resort property, I have amazing access to the finest of California ingredients right here. We have beautiful Meyer lemon trees, orange and tangerine trees and an abundant fresh herb garden with rosemary, tarragon, oregano etc., but one of the most interesting things we have here is our Sea Salt Conservancy. It is fantastic. All of the sea salt we cultivate is used for our different dishes in the diverse restaurants. Many are infused with lemon or an herb and are wonderful to use in desserts. If salt is added correctly it can really enhance a sweet recipe. I grew up on the waterfront in Calabria, which is the boot of Italy and the Italians use and respect sea salt in a big way.

It is a balancing act to be the Master Pastry Chef at a resort like Terranea where you oversee everything sweet for the restaurants, the bakery, the private events and the weddings. How do you manage all of that with such success?
I’m lucky. I love doing what I do and I have a great team. I also learned from a great team at home and then in Arizona. I believe that practice makes perfect and I have very high standards. Pastry and presentation design are very precise with flairs of flavor. To me, it is architecture on a plate. To have a positive productive team that works well together and can produce the volume and diverse desserts that we do means that I need to show and teach by example. Everyone in the kitchens are committed to the cause of delivering delicious memorable results from the simplest chocolate chip cookie or ice cream to more intricate cakes and tortes.

 

What advice do you pass on to your pastry team and apprentices?
Being a pastry chef is a focused art. To create is an art but to do it well- to master it-takes time and attention to every detail. Use the best ingredients and finest utensils to get the best results. Care about everything. Make sure your pastry toolbox is fully equipped to make complicated processes more simple. Matfer products for pastry are absolutely the best and I can show and tell my team all about them by exposing them to the various items. My personal toolbox is filled with Matfer materials from spatulas to pastry brushes, cutters, whisks and tips. The frames, the zester, the decorator comb are fantastic and guide your hands to a perfect smooth and even result.

Are there special events you particularly enjoy creating desserts for?
Well I want get everything just right and make a lasting impression and memory for the patron and their palate. I like designing wedding cakes and creating new seasonal desserts that are memorable. It is also an enjoyable change to make desserts that complement wines for our Wine Library Dinners.

Do you have a signature dessert?
I think I do! I seem to be very well known for my Caramel Cheesecake Crème Brûlée. I first made it when I was invited years ago to make a dessert at the James Beard House in New York. It was a hit and I’ve been making it ever since. It is on our dessert menu at Catalina Kitchen and available for special events. I love cooking with caramel. I make a caramel pot a crème for our dessert menu in our elegant Mar’sel restaurant and a caramel bar dessert for Nelsons, our casual eatery.

You refer to building pastry as a type of architecture. Renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The thing always happens that you really believe in and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” Do you agree? How does this quote relate to you?
I really like this quote. Believing in something and the ability to make it happen is vital to living well and to achieving success. Since I was a little boy, I always believed I could get to the USA to further my expertise as a pastry chef. I worked hard to make it happen and I got to the United States. I persisted and believed I would become better with each experience. And I did. Thankfully, I think that continues to happen. I do believe creating pastry and a special dessert like the cremeaux torte is similar to architecture. Each dessert I “build” starts from an initial inspiration from a moment or an ingredient that I find or notice at a market. It gets me asking myself, “What can I do with this information or item in front of me? How can I make it work as a dessert?” I picture it in my mind before I begin and then believe I can do it. That is my ongoing challenge as a pastry chef and that’s what keeps me creating. I believe I can make a new dessert from the bottom up, from crust, to ingredients, to flavors and finally to garnish. You never want to lose the belief of accomplishment. For me ,it is important that I keep the juices of new ideas flowing and my curious mind seeking.


Your Chocolate Tangerine Cremeux with Blood Orange Glaze is stunning. What is the story and inspiration behind this holiday dessert?
I alter and edit the dessert menus to honor every season and the fresh ingredients that are especially available then. With the festivities of the holidays, I wanted to create something that was beautiful, unique and elegantly said Christmas. Blood oranges, chocolate and espresso are all elements that remind me of my childhood Christmas times in Italy. As an adult, Sambuca came into the equation too!! So I started fiddling and blending the ingredients and textured layers and created this torte. I like it. It feels special for the season. The opposites of the sweet chocolate with the sour yet sweet citrus of the tangerine cremeux and the blood orange glaze come together well. This Chocolate and Tangerine Cremeux will be featured on our holiday dessert menu in Mar’sel. 

Personally, what do you like to cook and eat at home?
Protein and pasta! Being Italian, I love stuffed eggplant and lasagna.

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As an established executive chef, you know the creation of an eye-catching divine dessert requires the use of the finest seasonal ingredients alongside top-notch utensils. Chef Jermonti uses Matfer's Stackable Frames & Pastry Bags and Pastry Tips, Mixing BowlFLEXIPAT® SheetOffsetThermometer Spatulas and Rolling Pin a for this tantalizing Chocolate & Tangerine Cremeux recipe

MORE ABOUT CHEF JERMONTI
For 13 years, he served as Executive Pastry Chef at the popular T. Cook’s restaurant at the Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix. At T. Cook’s, Jermonti became well-known for his signature caramel cake crème brûlée, which was named “Best of” by Phoenix Magazine. In January 2009, he was also named “Food Artist of the Month” by the publication. Other awards and recognitions include Best Baker in America from Travel & Leisure, Gold Medal Award for best desserts from the Scottsdale League for the Arts, first place for Best Ginger Bread from Chefs Estate in Prescott, AZ, Arizona’s Gold Plate Award, and Best Dessert audience winner on Phoenix Citysearch.com.

ABOUT TERRANEA RESORT
Terranea (terra-NAY-a) is a land unto itself. When you step onto their 102-acre private peninsula paradise, it's like stepping into a whole new world - minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles. On three sides, you're surrounded by the tranquil waves of the Pacific and across the channel is Catalina Island. The coastal setting of Terranea embraces its Mediterranean heritage and incorporates it into its architecture. From the resort lobby and outdoor gardens to private terraces and inviting courtyards with outdoor fireplaces, our carefully tended southern California family resort continues to evolve naturally over time.

CHOCOLATE AND TANGERINE CREMEUX

Chocolate and Tangerine Cremeux Featured Chef Spotlight Dessert with Chef Pierino Jermonti Terranea Resort Professional Pastry Tools

YOU'RE GOING TO WANT YOUR PASTRY BAGS & TIPS READY FOR THIS RECIPE! 

Zing and zest make a lasting impression as a meal’s phenomenal finishing touch when Pastry Chef Master Pierino Jermonti at Terranea Resort majestically marries blood orange, tangerine, pastry crème and chocolate into a triumphant torte. What a stunning dessert! Compliments of Chef Perry, we’re sharing this fantastic Chocolate & Tangerine Cremeux recipe.


CHOCOLATE AND TANGERINE CREMEUX 

SAMBUCA ORANGE ESPRESSO CRUST, VALHORNA DULCEY CHOCOLATE TORTE, TANGERINE CREMEUX , BLOOD ORANGE GELEE, TARRAGON DROPS 

Compliments of Terranea Resort - Executive Chef Pierino Jermonti

  • 1 # POWDER SUGAR
  • ORANGE ZEST
  • 2 # BUTTER
  • 4 EGGS
  • 2 TBL SAMBUCA
  • 2.5 # CAKE FLOUR
  • 8 OZ COCOA POWDER
  • ½ C ESPRESSO POWDER

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment. Cream powder sugar, zest, and butter.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add Sambuca and dry ingredients.  Cool in fridge. Then roll out to 1/8 of an inch thickness and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F.  

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • 2.125 # VALHORNA DULCEY
  • 2.125 # MILK CHOCOLATE 
  • 1 # BUTTER
  • 24 EGGS

Over a double boiler. Melt chocolate with butter. In a different bowl, over double boiler, heat eggs till warm using a wire whisk, constantly whisking till 110 F. Transfer the egg mixture to a mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk eggs to full volume. Fold in chocolate. Pour the chocolate mixture in to baking sheet.  Bake 25 mins at 250 degree F. chill the cake. Then place the cake layer over the top of the Sambuca flavored short crust. Keep it chilled in the freezer.

TANGERINE CREMEUX

  • 500 G SUGAR
  • ORANGE ZEST
  • 2300 G TANGERINE JUICE
  • 1320 G HEAVY CREAM
  • 1 QT YOLKS
  • 27.5 GELATIN SHEETS
  • 110 G COINTREAU

In a small bowl filled with ice, bloom gelatin.  In a sauce pot over the stove, bring sugar, juice, and heavy cream to boil.  Temper eggs and cook to 185 degree F. Take off heat and place into mixer with whisk attachment. Add gelatin and Cointreau.  Mix till cool. Pour over the chilled chocolate layer with extenders.

BLOOD ORANGE GLAZE

  • 2 QTS BLOOD ORANGE JUICE
  • 2 # SUGAR
  • 3 OZ CORNSTARCH
  • 2 OZ GELATIN

Bloom gelatin in an ice bath.  In a sauce pot, bring blood orange and sugar to a boil.  Make slurry with cornstarch and add to blood orange.  Cook till thick.  Strain and add gelatin. Let it cool, to room temperature, then pour over the layered dessert. Let it chill in the freezer, till firm.

BLOOD ORANGE SAUCE

  • 850 G BLOOD ORANGE PUREE
  • 40 G AGAR
  • 180 G SUGAR

Combine Blood Orange puree, agar-agar, and sugar. In a small sauce pot over the stove, bring to a boil and cook till thicken. Cool in ice bath. Blend in blender till smooth.

TARRAGON DROPS

  • 1 C SUGAR
  •  1 ½ C WATER
  • 20 G TARRAGON
  • 8 G AGAR-AGAR

In a sauce pot over the stove. Bring sugar, water and tarragon to a boil.  Blend and strain back to pot.  Add agar-agar and cook till thicken.  Cool in ice bath.  Blend in blender till smooth.

PLATTING
Pull the layered dessert out of the freezer, unmold the frame. Cut the dessert portion 4 to 1-1/2 inches, then cut again lengthwise across the middle. Brush the plate with the blood orange sauce. Place the 2 pieces of desserts to offset each other’s. Garnish with abstract chocolate and edible flowers. Pipe 2 sets of 5 drops each of Tarragon drops.  

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE!

Matfer Pastry Bags

For a pastry chef master, citrus, chocolate and sugar blend beautifully to create your own festive creamy dessert when using Matfer's Stackable Frames & Pastry Bags and Pastry Tips, Mixing BowlFLEXIPAT® SheetOffset & Thermometer Spatulas.

THANK YOU! 

Many thanks to Chef Pierino Jermonti and his team at Terrenea Resort! More on Chef Pierino Jermonti in the Matfer featured chef spotlight

TASTES & TRADITIONS: ODE TO THE ORANGE

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Taste and Traditions - Ode to the Orange

The holidays are here and nature’s nod to this season of appreciation and celebration is the Citrus Queen herself-- the majestic orange. Its lifeline and legacy are as long as it is delicious. Cultivated as far back as 2500 BC, this juicy eatable ball with hearty bright skin originally hails from China and India where it was initially regarded as a sour delicacy. Visiting Romans in the 1st-century AD, were enticed by its exotic taste and brought orange trees from India to Europe to grow. Those disappeared, however, along with the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire.

Centuries later the North Africans introduced oranges and tangerines (from Tangiers, hence the name) to Spain. In 1493, aware that sunshine was an important component to its sweet tasting growth, Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus sailed with seedlings across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Haiti to plant orange groves. Countries with parallel weather patterns like Panama, Mexico and Brazil soon followed and an orange medley industry was born. Californian William Wolfskill was the first American to harvest the fruit in 1841 where they became scrumptious snacks for miners of California’s gold rush. When the trans-continental railroad began in 1877, Wolfskill’s business acumen kicked into gear and he arranged transportation of oranges to St Louis. The crop also thrived in Florida where it went on to become and still remains the state’s primary commodity.

Considered the largest and most popular in the citrus family, this happy go lucky fruit has extended seeds of orange-type citrus cousins that vary in size and sweetness. These include the navel, valencia, tangerine, mandarin, clementine, blood orange and pixie. The fruit and color share the same name for very good reasons. Folklore attributes its successful growth to the yellow sun combined with the earth’s red soil and behold when those two colors are mixed, orange appears. In many cultures, whether fruit or hue, both symbolize joy, happiness, endurance, wealth and prosperity. Bursting with flavor, they are delectable on their own, as a juice, a sauce or a recipe ingredient, zest and peel included! They are also loaded with Vitamins C and B6, rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Oranges are harvested in winter and this is how their tie to the yuletide began. With December being the time for giving, oranges became a desired edible gift and their segmented slices still represent the ability to share with others. The ancient European legend of St Nicholas who became St. Nick or Santa Claus claims that the former bishop threw gold coins down the chimney of a poor father’s home where his daughters’ stockings were drying on the hearth. Miraculously, the coins landed in each toe. Those coins secured their dowries to marry and from then on “stockings” or socks by the fire filled with gifts-including a citrus jewel-from Santa became a celebrated tradition. Throughout 19th-century Europe, the mandarin, clementine, tangerine or orange were treasured treats at banquets. England’s Queen Victoria, a lover of clementine’s, believed cheery citrus at Christmas encouraged joy and prosperity. And during America’s 1930’s Depression, these golden delicacies were a welcome Christmas surprise.

The most unique and colorful member of this sun-kissed lineage is the blood orange that originated in Sicily and is a profound component in Italian holiday dishes and festivities. Its orange peel exterior is a brilliant contrast to its bright “bloody red interior” that is a result of the natural anthocyanin pigment. Pierino Jermonti, this month’s Master Pastry Chef Spotlight, was born in the Italian city of Calabria and has many fond tasty memories of blood oranges. He says, “When I think of Christmas, I think of the blood oranges of my childhood. To me, they are the quintessential element for the season and perfect on their own or in a dessert! And I’m thrilled that I can now also find them in California and offer them to the restaurant guests at Terranea.”

Zing and zest make a lasting impression as a meal’s phenomenal finishing touch when Pastry Chef Master Pierino Jermonti majestically marries blood orange, tangerine, pastry crème and chocolate into a triumphant torte. Take a look at his dessert stunner! Compliments of Chef Perry and Terrenea Resort, we’re sharing this fantastic Chocolate & Tangerine Cremeux recipe!  

For a pastry chef master, citrus, chocolate and sugar blend beautifully to create your own festive creamy dessert when using Matfer's Pastry Bags and Pastry TipsMixing BowlFLEXIPAT® Sheet, and Rolling Pin.

More on Chef Pierino Jermonti in the Matfer featured chef spotlight