More big dessert news: Pastry chef Lucy Damkoehler, previously of Taste SAM, started work last week at Mistral Kitchen, taking over one of the more storied pastry programs in the city. Her predecessor, Neil Robertson, had been with Mistral Kitchen since it opened, but left recently for what he told Seattle Mag's Allison Scheff will be a "very small and very personal" project.
Damkoehler, 29, is a rare pastry chef with name recognition amongst Seattle restaurant nerds, due in large part to her nostalgic, seasonal desserts at Taste and, of course, her mega-popular doughnuts. She's eager to tinker with the many kitchen gadgets and toys Belickis has in his kitchen, including the PacoJet, a high-tech ice cream maker that can assist with unusual flavor combinations.
Right now Damkoehler is developing desserts and presenting them to Mistral chef William Belickis. "I want to get my new menu on pretty quickly," she says, because Seattle is in the midst of its high season for stonefruit and other produce that Damkoehler is eager to incorporate into her desserts.
As for the doughnuts, Damkoehler vows they'll pop up in some form or another, but right now she's stymied by the fact that Mistral's arsenal of kitchen items doesn't include a fryer. She's even contemplating a baked version.
Damkoehler began baking when she was 16, growing up in Western Massachusetts. Her background includes working at famed Vienna pastry shop Demel and Boston's Hamersley's Bistro, whose chef, Gordon Hamersley, she counts as a mentor. She also spent two years working at New York's Gramercy Tavern and worked in Hawaii and at Andaluca before landing at Taste nearly three years ago.
She has spent time cooking on the line as well as in the pastry realm, which translates to savory elements like corn or tomatoes popping up in her desserts. She's also hoping to change up the dessert menu more frequently. Look for her creations on Mistral's menu in just a few weeks. Meanwhile, things have also changed behind the bar.