5 Questions for Candace Nelson
Candace Nelson is a pastry chef and founder of the Sprinkles Cupcakes bakeries, the first of which she opened on Little Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. There are now 10 Sprinkles in the U.S., with more opening overseas. Nelson last week opened the first Sprinkles Ice Cream shop two doors down from the Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills (in between is the Sprinkles cupcake ATM, which dispenses cupcakes to go). The ice cream shop serves ice cream by the cone (including red velvet cones), pints, sundaes and ice cream sandwiches made with cookies or cupcake tops.
What’s coming up next on your menu? Ice cream, cookies, brownies!
Latest ingredient obsession? Chocolate. Is it ever not? I'm especially excited about American craft chocolate Tcho, which we are incorporating into many of our Sprinkles ice cream menu items. The flavor profiles of their chocolate run from fruity and nutty to "chocolatey" and caramelly, solely from the beans and roasting process not from any added ingredients.
The last cookbook you read -– and what inspired you to pick it up? "Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies" by Alice Medrich -- for inspiration. I used to take classes with Alice Medrich in San Francisco. She studies ingredients and reinvents technique for the simplest of baked goods. Her classes were always illuminating and her cookbooks are a revelation.
What’s the last non-food-related book you read? "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion. It's a reminder to appreciate your loved ones everyday, in even the most mundane moments.
What chef has influenced you most? Janet Rikala Dalton. She was my pastry chef instructor at Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco and has been a friend and mentor ever since. She was Wolfgang Puck's pastry chef at Postrio for many years. Since then she has created the dessert menus at many of the most esteemed San Francisco restaurants. She is a fantastic pastry chef and a geniune and generous person.
Sprinkles, 9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 274-8765, www.sprinklescupcakes.com. Sprinkles Ice Cream, 9631 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 274-7890, www.sprinklesicecream.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo credit: Sprinkles Cupcakes