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Alex Levin

People Profiles

Executive Pastry Chef, Osteria Morini D.C.

Q: Valentine’s Day is coming up. To you, what dessert most encompasses love and romanticism?

A chocolate ganache dessert with blood oranges and a deeply flavored gelato would be my pick. It brings together an aphrodisiac with the color red with a nice amount of sweetness – perfect for love, romance and Valentine’s Day.

Q: Make a prediction! What will be the next “cronut” (dessert trend)? The “It” dessert of 2015?

Rice Pudding Desserts. This is one of my focuses at Osteria Morini. Past flavors included Vanilla Bean, Zabaione, Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter. The next one planned is Praline, Chocolate & Cappucino.

Q: You’re given your own candy bar — what would it be and what’s the name?

Pistachio bar enrobed in milk chocolate – like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I’d call it Pistachiolicious!

Q: What one ingredient do you LOVE and HATE working with?

I love working with chocolate to build beautiful, intricate pieces of decor and to create bonbons and truffles. It’s tricky to get the chocolate just right – shiny, a firm crisp and delicous flavor. I hate working with cocoa powder unless I have latex gloves to wear because it is the single most messy item in the land of pastry!

Q: How do you come up with recipes? What inspires you?

I brainstorm every day for new ideas and consider flavor combinations that work well together. I think about textures and temperatures that all play together on one plate. That’s why you’ll see a dessert of mine that has a soft and crunchy element, warm and cold or frozen and room temperature. Color and design are also things I consider – making sure that the final dish is delicious and beautiful.

Q: The biggest baking no-no?

Read the recipe first and make sure you have everything measured out completely. Follow the recipe and don’t take any shortcuts. Make sure that you use a tried and tested recipe before using it for guests!

Q: How do you come up with recipes? What inspires you?

I brainstorm every day for new ideas and consider flavor combinations that work well together. I think about textures and temperatures that all play together on one plate. That’s why you’ll see a dessert of mine that has a soft and crunchy element, warm and cold or frozen and room temperature. Color and design are also things I consider – making sure that the final dish is delicious and beautiful.

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