Christina Tosi’s Netflix Series Recruits Chicago Pastry Chef Maya-Camille Broussard

By Audarshia Townsend on July 27, 2021

Yet another culinary-focused competition is hitting small screens this summer. Netflix claims that Bake Squad isn’t like the cut-throat, drama-filled shows its viewers have grown to hatewatch. The series premieres August 11 and features Chicago pastry chef Maya-Camille Broussard (Justice of the Pies).

In each of the eight episodes, four talented bakers battle it out to see whose dessert will be chosen for someone’s special occasion, from a sweet 16 birthday party to a wedding anniversary. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, who built an empire on delicious cookie dough and serves as executive producer for Bake Squad personally selected each chef for the series. The roster consists of Broussard, Brooklyn’s Ashley Holt (Sugar Monster Sweets), Denver’s Gonzo Jimenez (Miette et Chocolat), and San Diego pastry chef Christophe Rull.

Broussard, who hails from Hyde Park, made a name for herself after she founded Justice of the Pies in 2014 to honor her late father, Stephen Broussard. He was a criminal defense attorney and during his off hours, he made pies — hence the name. She learned a thing or two from him and put her skills to the test with unique offerings like strawberry-basil key lime, caramel apple crumble, chocolate-bacon bourbon pecan, and lavender blueberry. Shoppers can find them all over town at establishments like South Shore Brew, Goose Island Brewpub, and Luke’s Lobster. The pies are also available at the Daley’s Plaza farmers market. Broussard runs the business out of the Hatchery, the culinary incubator in Garfield Park.

The pastry chef, described on the show as a “Flavor Fanatic,” sat down with Eater Chicago for an interview discussing Bake Squad, how being hearing impaired impacts her work, and where Chicago ranks as a top culinary destination.

As a person who’s hearing impaired, were there any difficulties you faced during this competition?

One of the things that I really appreciated on the show was that everyone with whom I interacted wore clear masks. That was really special for me because of the importance of accessibility as a person living with a disability and who relies on reading lips to communicate.

I often talk about that when you lose one sense you gain another. You sort of gain a superpower! During this competition, I relied on my superpowers in the sense of smell and sense of taste to lead me in creating flavorful dishes. But it’s also important to note that, as with most people in the deaf and hearing-impaired community, my peripheral vision is on 10. We see things in the corner of our eyes that most people would not. I live through life doing just fine, so, of course, I could live through a little competition.

I know you cannot discuss in detail what to expect of the eight-episode series, but is there anything you can talk about to get us excited for it?

One of the things I believe viewers will appreciate about Bake Squad is the camaraderie. Yes, it’s a competition, but we are a team. We don’t win any money. We win bragging rights. Our goal is to produce fabulous options for each individual who comes on the show. I think that people are really going to enjoy seeing the camaraderie between all the chefs and just seeing how we cut up sometimes. It’s fun to watch, and I hope that people will not only be enticed by the wonderful desserts but also enjoy the fun we’re having making them.

What sort of skills did you gain by participating in this series? Did you pick up anything new and valuable from your castmates?

Each chef in the Bake Squad specializes in one skill. We all can create a plethora of desserts, but we were selected for our unique skills in one specialty. For example, Chef Gonzo specializes in chocolate. Chef Christophe specializes in sugar work. Chef Ashley specializes in cake and cake sculpture. And I specialize, of course, in pies and I create unorthodox flavor combinations. One of the things that I learned from chef Christophe is how to work with sugar. I typically don’t create show pieces. Pies don’t have to look perfect. Their fillings are oozing out the side of the crust; they’re meant to look homemade and endearing. Working with him and learning technique was great.

You’re repping Chicago. How do you feel about representing your hometown in this series?

I feel great to represent Chicago as a member of the Bake Squad because Chicago is a culinary powerhouse. When you ask people what city in America is the best city to eat in, Chicago is going to be in the top two, and by top two I mean No. 1. You have cities like New Orleans and New York, and then you have Seattle and Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest. But when it comes to variety and the chef’s kiss of restaurants, Chicago is the place to be. And, of course, as a South Side girl, I am more than ecstatic to be representing the city.

What has your life been like since Bake Squad was announced? Has it changed much?

My life hasn’t really changed much — yet. Most people who have supported Justice of the Pies all these years have been rooting for the show to be a success. Once the show airs in August and people see our skills, I am interested to see what happens next. Prior to the show, I had other things in the works, so I am always busy. I have a satellite bakery, so we are always trying to produce as much as we can in that little 255-square-foot kitchen. That’s what keeps us really busy.

What is your favorite pie right now? Will that change soon?

Right now, strawberry-basil key lime pie is super popular. That will change in September because people will want their pumpkin spice everything for fall. I recently came back from Barbados, and I had the most delicious thing, which was smashed sweet potatoes and sweet plantains. I am super excited to grab some plantains and let them sit on top of my shelf for two weeks to get ripe and black. I will smash them together with some baked sweet potatoes and see what type of pie I can produce.

Bake Squad, premieres August 11 on Netflix.

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Netflix: Meet the Bake Squad cast – Maya, Ashley, Christophe and Gonzo!

By Helen Williams on August 10, 2021

Netflix can do no wrong when it comes to baking shows. From Somebody Feed Phil to Chef’s TableFresh, Fried and Crispy to Street Food, there’s no end of hunger-inducing series to watch on the streaming service.

Bake Squad is a brand new cooking competition to Netflix in August 2021. Four bakers chosen by Milk Bar creator Christina Tosi go head to head. So, let’s get to know more about the cast – Maya-Camille Broussard, Ashley Holt, Christophe Rull and Gonzo Jimenez.

Netflix: Meet the Bake Squad

Christina Tosi’s Bake Squad is made up of four brilliant bakers – Maya-Camille Broussard, Ashley Holt, Christophe Rull and Gonzo Jimenez.

The four contestants have to battle it out to be the one cooking for someone’s big day. From birthday parties to weddings, there’s a lot of pressure on the bakers to deliver in the new Netflix series.

Ashley Holt said during the series’ trailer: “The whole thing with the Bake Squad – we can have some friendly competition – but we’re still a team.

Maya-Camille Broussard

Maya-Camille Broussard describes herself as a “Creative Entrepreneur” on Instagram. Follow Maya @mayacamillebroussard.

She’s the woman behind ‘Justice For Pies’, “a bakery that specializes in sweet and savory pies, quiches and tarts” as per its website.

The Netflix star created Justice For Pies in honour of her late father, Stephen J. Broussard, who dubbed himself the ‘Pie Master’.

Ashley Holt

Another creative soul appearing on the Netflix series is 30-year-old Ashley Holt.

Ashley hails from Georgia and writes in her Instagram bio that she’s a “Creator of cool things + good times” and a “Culinary Producer + Emmy Awarded Food Stylist“.

Follow Ashley @sugar_monsterr where she has over 44k followers.

Christophe Rull

Christophe Rull is a baker and sugar sculptor. The talented pastry chef most recently worked at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa in California as per his LinkedIn page.

The Netflix star began his career working in France in 2008 and now he’s bringing his extraordinary skill set to screens all over the world on Bake Squad.

Follow Christophe on Instagram @christopherullpro where he has over 2.6k followers.

Bake Squad Netflix cast: Gonzo Jimenez

Gonzo Jimenez is also a member of the Bake Squad. He was born in Argentina and began working in restaurants at 17 years old as per Republica Del Cacao.

The chef is not only into pastry but he’s also a chocolatier. He’s worked for five-star restaurants and celebrity chefs in his time and now, he’s a Netflix star.

Follow Gonzo on IG @chef.gonzo where he has almost 16k followers.

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San Marcos pastry chef to compete on new Netflix series ‘Bake Squad’

By Pam Kragen on August 9, 2021

Next Wednesday, local pastry chef Christophe Rull will return to TV screens for his third network cooking competition, the new Netflix series “Bake Squad.”

The 36-year-old San Marcos resident won Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” in 2017 and was crowned champion of Food Network’s “Holiday Wars” in 2018. But unlike those ultra-competitive shows that earned Rull and his team up to $50,000 in cash, the only prize in “Bake Squad” is bragging rights. While Rull and the three other contestants aim to win the individual rounds, the show’s goal is building camaraderie and teamwork to please the customers in each of the eight dessert-making challenges.

The series is hosted by Christina Tosi, founder of the famous New York-born Milk Bar dessert shop empire. She hand-picked the contestants during their auditions last year. Many pastry chefs would feel nervous performing in front of Tosi, but Rull didn’t know who she was.

“She was asking me questions and I could tell she knew what she was talking about,” he said. “I asked her if she was a pastry chef because her questions were so precise and she said ‘I’ve got a couple of shops in America.’”

Rull, who recently finished up five years as a pastry chef at the Park Hyatt Aviara resort in Carlsbad, declined to say how well he did on “Bake Squad” but he described the experience as a fun and sometimes “mind-blowing” adventure. Rull and his fellow bakers Gonzalo Jimenez of Denver, Ashley Holt of Brooklyn and Maya-Camille Broussard of Chicago compete to create over-the-top desserts for events like a teen’s birthday party, a wedding and a girl’s “I kicked cancer” celebration.

“It was definitely challenging, every single episode,” Rull said. “The main goal was to put out the beautiful display at the end of the day. But I think this show will touch people watching at home. It’s not only about the beauty of the pastries but also about our personal lives and who we are outside the kitchen.

For Rull, “Bake Squad” was a warm-up for the cooking competition he’s been dreaming of his whole adult life. In October, he’ll spend two days in Chicago with three or four other American pastry chefs competing for the honor of representing the U.S. in the World Chocolate Masters event in Paris next year. National chocolate masters from 20 or more countries will compete in a grueling multiday contest that no American has ever won. Rull hopes he, or one of his fellow U.S. semifinalists, will finally break that streak next year.

Rull has gained some local fame in recent years with the enormous chocolate sculptures he created each holiday season for the Park Hyatt Aviara resort’s lobby. One year he made a 250-pound Christmas train out of molding chocolate, which is edible “clay” made from chocolate and corn syrup. Another year he made an 11-foot-tall Christmas village out of chocolate, gingerbread, marshmallows and icing.

To prepare for the semifinals, Rull left his job at the Park Hyatt last month to focus full time on practicing his training and techniques in the kitchen of the San Marcos home he shares with his wife, Wilma, and 16-year-old stepson Byron.

“This has been a dream since the beginning of my career. there are pastry jobs everywhere, but there’s only one World Chocolate Master. I want to fully focus the next couple of months on this,” he said.

Compared to competing on a TV series, where Rull said his strategy is keeping it “simple, elegant and tasty,” he expects the semifinals to be the toughest challenge he’s ever faced.

“Every single minute counts and every move you’re doing is being watched and judged. The pressure is much higher,” he said.

Rull was born and raised in Marseilles, France, where his grandfather was a bread-maker. He began cooking by his father’s side as a small boy, where he graduated from peeling carrots and potatoes to cooking the family’s meals by the time he was 12. After high school, he spent four years in cooking schools, where he grew to prefer the art of pastry-making.

“I liked the artistic side of it,” he said. “You can be more creative with pastry because you can go bigger and ‘up’ the volume with it in ways you can’t do with other cooking.”

He finished his training at the prestigious Ecole Nationale Superieure de Patisserie in Yssingeaux, France, then worked at a series of European resorts before moving to the U.S. in 2009 for a job as a founding pastry chef at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. It was there where he helped assemble the largest showpiece of his career, a hanging mobile of 20 sugar sculptures that descended from the ceiling as the dinner finale at a gala for the Michael Jordan Foundation.

Looking ahead, Rull said that in September he will begin teaching classes on chocolate through the online cake decorating school Sugar Geek Show and he’ll be teaching online and in-person classes with the Stéphane Tréand Pastry School in Tustin.

“I love my life here in San Diego,” he said. “Every time I have some free time, I’m on a surfboard and I love the beautiful weather. I don’t plan to leave San Diego any time soon.”

“Bake Squad” premieres on on Wednesday, Aug. 11. All eight episodes will be released at the same time.

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