15 Minutes With a Pastry Pro

sugar rush cookbook by johnny iuzzini
Chef and cookbook author Johnny Iuzzini sits down to share his baking tips.

Being an accomplished pastry chef is one thing, but being a two-time author, avid traveler, motorcyclist, TV personality and 2006 James Beard Award winner is quite another. We sat down with pastry pro Johnny Iuzzini to talk white truffles, orange ice cream and a not-so-secret Kit Kat obsession:

Your usual breakfast:

JI: Two double espressos and the occasional bowl of oatmeal.

Your ideal kitchen soundtrack:

JI: My iPod is super eclectic -- I always keep it on shuffle. It goes from Johnny Cash and Daft Punk to Metallica to Beastie Boys.

Guilty pleasure:

JI: I always grab a few Kit Kat bars or Twix when I'm driving upstate. I also love sour cream and onion Pringles.

Kitchen utensil you can't live without:

JI: A Kitchen Aid stand mixer and a gram scale.

Kitchen utensil you rarely use:

JI: Measuring cups

Indulgence you're currently craving:

JI: Well, it is white truffle season…

Last meal on Earth:

JI: I would stretch it out and get a single course from all my chef friends. It would probably be the longest meal in history.

Recipe you cherish:

JI: There are two in Sugar Rush: The bitter orange ice cream from my first pastry chef and the crumb cake from one of the sweetest home bakers I've ever met.

Recipe from book you're most eager for readers to make:

JI: That's a tough one…so far, people really love the roasted white chocolate panna cotta. It's relatively easy to make, yet delivers something very unique and distinct.

Restaurant that impressed you so much you can't stop recommending it:

JI: Peasant has been my favorite restaurant in New York City for a very long time. Head Chef Frank DeCarlo is probably one of the best cooks I know and is definitely the most humble.

Recipe in book that best reflects your personality:

JI: Hm, I'm not sure if there is a hyper, bipolar or schizophrenic recipe in there. Maybe the coconut pineapple torte -- every bite keeps changing flavors and textures.

Pick one: Eat out, order in, cook at home:

JI: Eat out. I love trying other people's food -- their techniques and flavor combinations always inspire me to think.

Your go-to 20-minute-or-less dinner:

JI: I love pan roasting meat with garlic, butter and rosemary.

One ingredient you can't stop using:

JI: Peppermint

Any advice for people learning to cook for themselves at home?

JI: Your best route to success is being organized. Read all recipes start to finish before you begin, measure all your ingredients before you start and have all your equipment out and ready. Cooking is a lot of multi-tasking, so if you're well organized it's half the battle.

sugar rush cookbook by johnny iuzzini

Want more? Get Johnny's new book, Sugar Rush, on Amazon here.

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