Tell us about who you are and what you do: I’m Carlos Almanzar, executive pastry chef at NOBU Miami; I create the desserts for the restaurant. I’m also starting my own company, AlmZar sweets, where I’m going to focus on creating vegan ice creams and small desserts (coming soon!).
What were the stepping stones on how you got to where you are and what you’re doing? I was really lucky when I started working for Nobu in NY as a dish washer, the pastry chef Gabriele Riva (in my opinion one of the best pastry chefs out there), gave me the opportunity to do pastry and teach me this art. After working at Nobu 57 for 4 years I got the opportunity to manage the pastry kitchen at Nobu LA and other restaurants until I got to Miami. The road hasn’t been easy, but with passion and love for what I do, I worked my way up.
How/when did he know that being a pastry chef is what you wanted to do? At first doing pastry was just a job, but when I had the opportunity to create my first dessert I felt in love with what is now my career.
Describe your style of desserts: I’ll said my desserts are simple in looks yet complex in flavors, colorful, and unique.
What has been your biggest accomplishment? I think I haven’t accomplished what I really want but, being the pastry chef of a restaurant in a company that you started as a dish washer it’s big enough for now (LOL). In a personal level I have a beautiful house and family.
Tell us about your favorite dessert you’ve ever had (who made it and where was it?) I like things that are out of the ordinary, one of my favorite dessert is a white peach soup (peanut cookies, beer ice cream, white peach and jasmine syrup) created by Gabriele Riva, really simple but different and of course so good!
Who is your pastry guru? I have two and I have been lucky enough to work with both. My fist mentor Gabriele Riva and Robert Truiit. Very different style, but to them I owe the way I do things.
What is your thought process when creating a new dessert or ice cream flavor combination? Believe it or not, ideas just come to my mind and I can be in peace until I try them. Sometime is a flavor combo that I imagine or a texture that I want to achieve. I’m pretty vocal about my ideas and usually share them with my team, they help me to give them shape.
Tell us some of your ice cream flavors: For ice cream I like simple. My favorite flavors are pistachio, Grand Marnier, soba cha, white chocolate, mango passion.
What would you tell someone who is considering to become a pastry chef? To do things with love and passion and try to have your own style, something that is going to make you different from the rest.
What is your favorite ingredient? This is a hard one because I like being different so, anytime I find something new that becomes my favorite. But, in general I like using Japanese teas and chocolate.
What would be your ideal day/night out? Sharing good food and drinks that are going to be memorable for me, my wife, and friends.
Rapid fire questions :
Fruit or nuts? Nuts
Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate
Simple or complex? Simple
Hot or Cold? Cold
Coffee or alcohol? Alcohol
Sweet or savory? Sweet
Summer or winter fruits? Summer
Where can people find your desserts and ice creams?