Everyone may have a different opinion about everything these days, but one thing we can all agree upon: Dessert is awesome. Whether it’s a cupcake, cookie, candy, or custard (side note: why do so many desserts start with the letter C?), sugar has the ability to unify humans from all over the globe.
In our original Crossroads series, we highlight chefs who represent a spectrum of international cuisines, delving deep into their traditions and how they have revised or influenced them to cater to American audiences. Today’s episode features Mariana Vieira from Brigadeiro Bakery and Tomoko Kato from Patisserie Tomoko, two pastry powerhouses who have bridged cultural divides to offer delicious, unique, and memorable sweets to New York’s notoriously critical clientele.
Vieira, who hails from Brazil, is on a mission to make condensed milk-based brigadeiros a household name. The rich confection, a celebrated South American treat, resembles a typical truffle but lacks its hard outer shell. Instead, they are rolled in various ingredients like chocolate sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs, or nuts to accommodate different (and many times seasonal) flavors.
Kato blends culinary inspiration from Europe, Japan, and the United States. She is classically trained in French pastries and desserts, having worked in world-famous restaurants like Bouley, Le Bernadin, and Russian Tea Room. At her patisserie, guests can be treated to a dessert prix fixe menu that highlights Asian ingredients like green tea and yuzu, but with traditional French and American preparations like macarons, brûlées, and even over-the-top sundaes.
We sat down with the ladies to discuss their bustling businesses and the process behind melding different customs. Check out the drool-inducing video above for the full interviews, as well as tutorials for their signature dishes. No matter where your particular dessert tastes and preferences may lie, one thing’s for certain: These jobs are sweet.