June 23, 2015 / 12:20 PM / 2 years ago

World Chefs: Tosi embraces fun, simplicity in 'Milk Bar Life' cookbook

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Celebrity chef Christina Tosi puts a fun spin on the simple food and desserts she and her staff make at the Milk Bar, and shares after-hour tales about this sister bakery of the Momofuku restaurant group in her second cookbook, “Milk Bar Life.”

Celebrity chef Christina Tosi is shown in this handout provided by Milk Bar in Brooklyn, New York June 22, 2015. REUTERS/Danielle Kosann/The New Potato/Handout

Tosi, 33, named best U.S. pastry chef by the James Beard Foundation in May, also teaches pastry classes and is a judge on the television cooking show, “MasterChef,” along with Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot.

The New York-based chef who grew up in Virginia, spoke to Reuters about her culinary style, her career and choosing favorite recipes for the book.

Q: What inspired you to write this follow-up to your first book, “Momofuku Milk Bar?”

A: The spirit was much more casual, more approachable. It shows who we are when we are off the clock. It captures the spirit of how we do anything and how we do everything.

Q: What could readers take away from the book?

A: It’s definitely not meant to be a technique-driven book. I wanted the book to retreat back to the time when you could write a recipe on a note card and share it with someone.

Judge Christina Tosi (R) and junior home cook Alexis Higgins, 9, help television critics Tony Wong (L), Richard Ogawa (2nd L) and Miki Turner make a cake ball after the panel for Fox's "MasterChef Junior" at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter 2015 presentations in Pasadena, California January 17, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

Q: How did you select the recipes?

A: We started by making a list of our favorite foods. They each had a space in our life based around an occasion or origin. The reason I love them was because of where we made them or we shared them.

Q: How have you evolved as a chef?

A: As I developed as a pastry chef and once my skill set was there, I started to figure out what my voice was. The things that drew me in the most were some crazy place in the middle between beautiful, classic American desserts and an approach which was incredibly difficult and technical. It was figuring out how to balance technique with authenticity.

Q: Why do your desserts resonate with people?

A: A large part of it is just honesty and authenticity. I think good food is something you understand and connect with on a flavor level but also on a deeper emotional level.

Q: In your classes, are you a scary teacher?

A: I am not. I am incredibly patient and fun. If I weren’t a pastry chef, I would be a teacher or a tutor because I love the mentoring process.

Editing by Patricia Reaney and Bernadette Baum

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