Executive Pastry Chef Heather Gressett of Corner Kitchen and Chestnut was recently featured in Food & Beverage Magazine. Check out her Q&A here.
From the article:
Heather Gressett is the Executive Pastry Chef at both Chestnut and Corner Kitchen, destination restaurants in Asheville, NC. Having made her way to the Blue Ridge Mountains via the West Coast and Chicago (where she earned the nickname “Sugar Chef”), Chef Gressett is one of the best kept sweet secrets in the South, particularly due to her ability to bring joyful desserts to her patrons via surprising recipes, ingredients, and concepts.
Chef Gressett got her first restaurant job at the age of 14 and had many throughout the coming years as she attended Santa Barbara City College’s culinary program, where she was chosen to visit Europe as part of her studies. At 21, she moved to Chicago to work with Paul Kahan’s One Off Hospitality Group.
On bringing everyone joy
Chef Gressett believes everyone should be able to enjoy dessert at the end of their meal. It’s a way to keep the conversation of the dinner going, continue the joy of the meal, and to treat oneself. But because of health and dietary restrictions, many people skip dessert (or sometimes they’ll feel too full, and a rich-sounding dessert seems too much). That’s why Chef Gressett is developing loads of healthy desserts that can meet everyone’s wants across the table. Of course, there are times when a simple scoop of chocolate ice cream is in order, but sometimes folks want a simpler dessert with wholesome ingredients that doesn’t have sugar added to it. She doesn’t see enough affordable desserts that highlight a delicious fruit or a whole-grain food, so she has taken it upon herself to make those so that everyone can leave her restaurants with a sweet treat and their bodies feeling good.
And true to her Chicago Bridge Project roots, a lot of the most successful desserts she’s put together have incorporated underutilized or extra ingredients that would otherwise go to waste in a restaurant. For example, her most recent dessert is a vanilla bean-infused house yogurt with grilled, cubed, and then frozen pineapple (to add a smoky, bright bite to the yogurt) and chia seeds for a crispy garnish. Delicious, and healthy. Heather believes in giving people what they want, and there’s absolutely a demand for these kinds of dessert offerings.