One of the first things you will notice when you walk into “The Osprey Tavern,” in the Baldwin Park area of Orlando, Florida, is its quaint, yet classically vibrant atmosphere, which is not only reflected by the beautiful “tavern-esque” design but also by its classic yet tastefully modern take on traditional American cuisine. One of the driving forces in this “classically modern” trend is the creative genius of Executive Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci, whose delicious creations make “The Osprey Tavern” and sister restaurants “Seito Sushi” and “Reyes Mezcaleria” a definite “must try” on any culinary wish list!
Chef Kristy has had the “cooking bug” since she was a little girl. “My mom gave me a “little kid baking cook book” and I would read it in the car on driving trips. I never was baking anything out of it, but I would read it from front to back, dreaming about all the different desserts.”
“My grandmother had a fantastic kitchen, and I would play in there, messing around, pulling out all her spices and pretending I was creating all my own recipes… I would even pretend I had my own cooking show on TV, and I would be baking things for the imaginary audience. Some of my fondest memories are watching Julia Child, ‘The Galloping Gourmet,’ and so many of the other cooking shows… they were truly a large influence upon my life!”
One would think that it would be necessary for an Executive Pastry Chef to have a love of sweets, but Chef Kristy actually has a different view. “I don’t have a ‘sweet tooth,’ so I feel it helps make my deserts a little more savory and balanced, rather than ‘super sweet’… like any ingredient, the sweet taste should be a complimentary part of the flavor rather than an overpowering one.”
“There is a ‘science’ to why the pastry works, and that is key to open the flavor of the recipe… and if it doesn’t work, you have to learn how to tweak it in the right way, for the right reasons. It is not just ‘a pinch of this’ or ‘a dash of that,’ you have to understand the ingredients, how they interact with each other and react to the baking environment… you have to respect the process.”
When discussing the best tools an aspiring Chef can have in the kitchen, Chef Kristy has a very direct response, “A kitchen scale is worth its weight in gold, it is more valuable than all the other gadgets and toys, because your recipes will come out so much better, your ingredient amounts will be more exact. You have to start small and follow the recipe, in fact, you should know the recipe before you even get started, and then take your time, don’t rush the process, and if it doesn’t work out the first time, just try again!”
Chef Kristy believes that developing your own personal process or method is imperative for structuring your menu. “Knowing what the season brings and perhaps the produce that you will be working with is what drives the menu. I work the dessert choices around the produce and ingredients that are being purchased, and I want to keep it as fresh as possible. Another key for me is to not think solely about the main flavor influence, I also take into consideration the texture, temperature, color, how it is going to look on the plate, and then how to tie it all together to make a nice and delicious desert. Finally, what is the restaurant itself, what are its influences upon the guest, what is the ambience, and how can that be part of the creative process… it all comes together on the plate, and that is the path to a superior dish!”
“The best feeling you can have as a Chef is seeing how your creations can make people’s faces light up! It is a treat when you order dessert, and I love the feeling of making people happy. That has to be your goal as a Chef: making people happy… anyone can cook food, but a Chef makes people happy, it’s that simple!”
The next time you are in the Orlando, Florida, area, be sure to stop by “The Osprey Tavern” and enjoy the classically modern tastes and ambience.. but don’t forget to order your favorite dessert, because, as Chef Kristy Carlucci puts it, “You’ll be happy you did!”
Produced by: Irina Pabis
Photo/Video by: Richard Pabis
Written by: David Morizot
Blueberry Zucchini Cake
- 525 g AP Flour
- 7g Baking Powder
- 7 g Baking Soda
- 14 g Salt
- 5 g Cinnamon
- 340 g Sugar
- 340 g Brown Sugar
- 435 g Canola Oil
- 255 g Eggs
- 520 g Zucchini, grated
- 99 g Whole Wheat Flour
- 8 oz Blueberries
1. Mix together whole wheat flour, zucchini, and 99 g of the AP Flour
2. Blend together remaining AP Flour, Baking Powder, Soda, Salt, Cinnamon.
3. Blend together sugars, oil, and eggs.
4. Mix dry into wet, mix well. Fold in zucchini mixture, followed by blueberries.
5. Pour into parchment lined and greased half sheet pan. Bake at 325F for 15 minutes,
rotate and bake another 10-15 minutes, making sure it’s baked completely.
Yield: 24 Cakes