The fresh batch: Giselle Miller
Name: Giselle Miller
Current City: Boston, MA
Current Job: Pastry Chef at Liquid Art House
What is your background in pastry and how did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from Le Cordon Blue in 2007. I then started my internship at Sel De La Terre in Boston. After 2 years, I decided to move to Radius. After Radius, I moved to work for Chris Coombs at Deuxave. While at Deuxave, I was eager to expand my culinary knowledge and decided to stage at award winning restaurants in New York City and Chicago. After coming back to Boston, I met with Chef Rachel Klein and agreed to be her Pastry Chef for the opening of Liquid Art House.
What I learned from the many years of working in kitchens is that you always need to keep a positive attitude. Never, ever stop learning. If you stop learning, then you're done as a chef. For me there's a sense of coalition and greatness when you create something new. It's greater than any sensation in your life.
What do you love about your job?
The freedom to express myself. I feel like sometimes artists feel incarcerated in the outside world, because sometimes it's hard for regular people to understand and appreciate what their art is. For me, it has taken years to feel comfortable to show chefs my work. I knew it was different and not “normal”, and at times I felt I was simply too different for their taste. I was once called a genius who was "10 years ahead of her generation", but those comments and words made me feel happy because I felt I had carved out my own identity. At Liquid Art House, I have the creative license to mix it up; I get to do the food I want to do.
Teaching others is the other best aspect of my job. I never really had a mentor. I had to teach myself everything. Although it was challenging in a good way for me, I at least want to guide and give back by imparting what I've learned and taught myself, and inspire them to expand their knowledge, have dedication and challenge themselves every day.
What are your favorite dishes to make?
I always had a fascination with the science behind ice cream and sorbet making. I can tell you I’ve become obsessed in learning every aspect and method that goes behind it. It's mind blowing. I also love working with chocolate. It's one of the hardest things for a pastry chef to master. It takes years, dedication and patience. I'm still working to perfect my own skill on it, every day.
I also work with every seasonal ingredient I can get my hands on. That always challenges me to create new dishes and keep my wheels in constant motion for my next menu change.
What do you consider to be the biggest food trends impacting your business, and how are you responding?
I feel like for many years food has become an outlet of how you can represent yourself in an artistic way. I personally do take part of that, and I always told myself to never let go of the flavor and taste of food. I find that some chefs lose the identity of their dishes and only focus on the visionary aspect of it. I feel like maybe this might not be a trend per se, but something that has developed for many years because of how some chefs define their work. For me, figuring out what really needs to be on a dessert and what doesn’t, challenges me to think simple, and let the food talk by itself. Sometimes keeping it simple and still trying to be different makes more sense than trying to use cool weird ingredients to just sound cool and ‘on-trend.’
What is the best advice you have received from other chefs?
To always tell your own story of who you really are as a Chef. One special chef said to me, "No matter what you do, don't ever change. Stay true to yourself". I live by those words everyday.
Who would you would like to collaborate with in the kitchen? Why?
Chefs who inspire me. From all over the world. Not just Pastry Chefs, but Chefs that still put their apron on everyday and get to sweat and work all day in the kitchen. I look up to all those people that became very known from having nothing, to having something now. To those chefs who failed at one time and picked themselves up to become great. For those chefs that always have a story about themselves, a strong work ethic and a sense of place in their kitchen. One of them is Malcolm Livingston II. His representation of his dishes and work really inspire me on a daily basis, and I wish to collaborate with him one day.
What is the best thing you’ve eaten lately?
The most delicious strawberries I had in a while. From Harry's Berries in Oxnard, California.
When you are not in the bakery, where can you be found?
In my living room with my head inside cooking books. I love to read and research and learn something new everyday. I also enjoy going to the science museum, I have a growing love for astrology and the science of space. You can also find me dining at friends’ restaurants, and making weird trips to local hardware stores to find my next favorite kitchen tool.
What is something you would like to achieve that you have not done already?
Traveling has always been a wish I still want to fulfill in my life. I haven't had the opportunity to travel to my favorite Chef’s restaurant outside the US. I dream to spend time away and see food in a completely different way from how I see it now. To do that I need to be abroad. But I’ve been to busy working! I want to experience that same connection that chefs have to their roots, and be able to interpret. I want to get to know Chefs who have something to say.