Chef Chan hasn't always been the expert he is now. "As a kid, I mastered the art of Jell-O fairly quickly," he jokes. "I got fancy by doing multiple layers of different flavors, fruits, and cream. Once I learned how to pipe whipped cream, Jell-O plating began..."
When we stopped by to chat with chef Chan, he was working on a dessert to teach his students. "New lesson plans go through several stages: research, development, testing and editorial," he explained. "Once the topic is chosen, research begins to cover the general scope of knowledge. The subject is then dissected and organized into a realistic lesson plan, including recipes."
"Testing begins with the recipes, to see how they work in the kitchen classrooms," he says. "Photographs are taken to help illustrate finished products, as well as any tricky steps. Lastly, writing occurs by our editorial staff for polished text and clean presentation. This also includes any slides or pictures that may be necessary in the classroom."
Chef Chan was experimenting with a new dessert when we visited the ICC kitchen. Here he's seen piping a peanut butter icing.
When discussing his favorite desserts, chef Chan says, "I love to make classic homey desserts — custards, pudding, pies, etc. They are standbys that make everybody happy, including myself. But for teaching, I think more complex desserts are better teaching tools. I love to teach composed desserts, as they integrate various textures, temperatures, and flavors. It’s a delicate balance of form and function that most people don’t appreciate."
"Although trendy ingredients come and go, I really like to work with highly acidic flavors, such as passion fruit, lime, or lemon juice, as both easily stand out and bring brightness to the palette," Chan says. "They also become versatile with so many other flavors."
The dessert chef Chan was working on was just an experiment while figuring out techniques to teach. This combination of peanut butter, chocolate, banana, and caramel was a perfect combination of flavors and textures.