The Daily Meal caught up with chef Joseph Gabriel to learn about how his travels have influenced his work. Gabriel is the pastry chef at Oceana Restaurant in New York, which has maintained a Michelin star rating since 2006. He has been at the restaurant since 2012 and is known for creating classic desserts with modern twists. He is committed to using seasonal ingredients and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, where he was the recipient of the Chef LeBorgne Scholarship.
The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Joseph Gabriel: I was recently invited by Michel Cluizel Chocolate to go to the Los Ancones cocoa plantation in the Dominican Republic. We walked through the plantations during harvest season and picked pods off the trees, ate the raw cocoa fruit, and learned everything from cultivation to fermentation, drying to production, and planting to pollination. We even planted trees. After all of this, we had to make a dessert using the finished Los Ancones chocolate and using flavors of the origin. We used fresh picked mangos, passion fruit, sapote, and cherries. The flavor of these fruits were superlative — they tasted so alive.
TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
JG: In Paris, I went into the famed kitchen store E. DEHILLERIN and found two small tamis that I thought were perfect for my production needs. I use them almost every day!
TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
JG: China. There is so much flavor and historical value in Chinese cuisine. I would love to go to the smaller provinces and eat their local food as well as the larger cities to see how they define their own cuisine.