Meet executive pastry chef Brooke Martin
Thanks to her Le Cordon Bleu training, Brooke Martin is known at The Beverly Hills Hotel for creating edible works of art. She loves nothing more than serving up playful desserts that pay homage to the glamour of the ‘Pink Palace’.
What’s your hotel signature dish?
Our Polo Lounge Chocolate Soufflé, a much-loved dessert that’s been on the menu for years. We also have fun with our soufflé of the day, where we put a twist on a classic recipe with a different American flavour throughout the week – my favourites are s’mores and black cherry.
What treat do you bake when friends come over?
I’m known for my chocolate chip cookies. It’s all about the brown butter, toasted pecans and fleur de sel that give you the perfect balance of nutty, sweet and salty. I love the way they give your home the most welcoming aroma, and who can resist a chocolate chip cookie?
What are you most proud of at your hotel?
Definitely my talented team. They are so creative, hardworking and they inspire me every day. Each one of us comes from a different background and we use our passion for food to push each other and grow together. I’ve always been competitive and have a sports background, so a team working well together to achieve the same goal gives a great feeling of pride.
What made you want to be a pastry chef?
I love food, I have a sweet tooth and I would have struggled with sitting behind a desk all day. In culinary school I loved that we would learn while being hands on in class. Once I started my first job in a bakery, there was no looking back. I feel most comfortable in the kitchen and baking never really feels like work.
What inspires your creations?
The seasons and my own personal cravings. I find that a visit to the farmers’ market is always very inspiring, but I also love creating special menus based on a theme. We have a lot of fun adding playful puns and designs into just about everything. For Valentine’s Day we made chocolate boxes with individual pies themed around, “I only have pies for you.”
What’s your favourite food memory?
Feasting on Christmas cookies as a kid with my sister. We would make sugar cookies in the shape of Santa’s face and pile on marshmallows and sprinkles then leave them out for Santa on Christmas Eve. What joy!
What’s your guilty pleasure food?
Ice cream. Even though I’m surrounded by sweet ingredients all day, nothing beats freshly churned ice cream and I almost always have a frozen component in a dish. It has a childhood nostalgia for me and can liven up any plate. I love adding texture, like shaved chocolate, candied pieces or swirling two different flavors together like a creamy ice cream with a fresh sorbet to make a beautiful and colourful kind of sherbet.
Chefs work long hours, how do you like to spend your time off?
Since work kitchens lack natural daylight, I enjoy anything associated with sunshine and fresh air when I’m not working. Running is one of my favourite ways to get outside, explore the city and find new places you wouldn’t normally notice while driving.
What do you love most about the city?
LA is so diverse with plenty of great restaurants, making it easy to eat our way around the world without ever leaving the city.
Do you listen to music while you cook?
Yes, I’m a fan of all kinds of music, there’s always something playing. In the kitchen we often listen to rock ‘n’ roll and jazz and it helps to keep us moving to the tempo.
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