By the time Clio Goodman opened her first pastry shop, Puddin’ by Clio, last year in Manhattan’s East Village, she’d already built up quite a resume: studying at the Culinary Institute of America, working as a pastry cook for several years at New York’s fine-dining zenith, Union Square Cafe, plus a stint as a private chef for a wealthy patron. Not bad for a 24-year-old. That patron eventually became her business partner — the deal was cinched after a taste of what’s now become Puddin’s “Classic” pudding dish — a parfait of chocolate and butterscotch topped with not-too-sweet whipped cream.
Clio might be young, but she’s blazing a pretty sweet trail (heard of any other sweet shops making a successful go of it, entirely based on pudding? Didn’t think so). Here’s why it’s great to date pastry chefs like her, beyond just the amazing desserts:
1. Pastry cooks can take a joke.
This really applies to anyone in the culinary industry; the kitchen sees a lot of harsh humor. Pastry is generally steps away from where the sous chefs and line cooks are stationed, so don’t imagine that they’re sheltered from the brunt of the rough humor. “We’re really not too sensitive,” Clio points out.
2. “There’s no such thing as “TMI.”
Expanding on reason number one, cooks are used to hearing it all in their intense, often cramped working conditions. They have a higher than usual tolerance for your gross stories and stupid exploits. (An aside: Clio and I used to work together. Hey, Clio, remember when all the sous chefs and half the line got matching pirate tattoos? Or the time one of the cooks blended an entire lobster shepherd’s pie and drank it like a milkshake? And those things were pretty minor.) Anyway, just try them, they’ve probably heard or seen it before. Or worse.
3. Pastry cooks are more appreciative of other people’s crazy work schedules.
Working in a restaurant, or owning your own food industry business, for that matter, is no nine-to-five. The pastry department doesn’t have free time to burn, and its denizens might likely be more empathetic than, say, the freelance population, when it comes to dealing with you and your own work/time demands. They certainly have plenty of their own.
4. Pastry chefs can take care of themselves.
While not all pastry cooks are women and not all line cooks are guys, the typical kitchen ratio tends to skew this way. And the girls are used to fighting with the men when necessary. The pastry girl you date will perhaps be tougher and more self-sufficient than the average population, and certainly not clingy.
5. “We’re talkative and bubbly.”
Pastry tends to be less stressed than the line because of different time constraints. Thus, they’re the ones in the kitchen who can actually make consistent upbeat conversation. And in a high-stress work environment, someone needs to keep things positive. According to Clio, the tendency carries over into leisure time.
6. “We’re not stupid with our money.”
Being a chef isn’t a high paying gig. “Something I buy I planned, I use it a lot, and I take care of it. We don’t just spend money to spend money,” Clio says.
7. Pastry chefs are in shape.
Contrary to what you might assume, pastry chefs are a fit breed. They might spend their days and nights surrounded by sugar, white flour, and butter, but their job entails standing pretty much the entire time (“entire time” often translating to 12 hours at a stretch). If not standing, they’re actively running around the kitchen.
8. They don’t mind staying in.
After all that running around, being able to relax is a priority. “If we’re dating someone and they just want to hang out at home sometimes, we don’t mind,” says Clio.
9. They have excellent/adventurous taste.
Pastry cooks spend their days surrounded by very good and often innovative cuisine. When they’re not at work, they’re always interested in trying and finding more.
10. Oh yeah, plus the awesome desserts.
Duh! Did you forget?