It’s not every day that you get a chance to get to know your restaurant neighbors. We’re usually hidden in the kitchen creating the perfect dish, behind the bar mixing your favorite drink, or making sure you’re comfortable and getting great service.
While we making sure you feel at home, we still think it’s important to get a chance to know a little more about your neighbors at Next Door Food and Drink! That way you know whom carefully plated your dish or created your favorite menu item.
We’re going to start this introduction to you with our pastry chef, Evelyn Post!
How long have you been at Next Door, where did you come from, and what’s your pastry background?
I was on the opening team at Next Door, a little over two years ago. Before that I was working as a catering coordinator at the Drake Centre and I filled in a little there helping in the kitchen and with decorating cakes. Before that I was the Chef de Cuisine at Chimney Park Restaurant and Bar in Windsor. I started there as a pantry cook with Chef Florian Wehrli when it was Chimney Park Bistro. Florian gave me an opportunity to advance, and I worked with him for about 3 years, then with Chef Jason Shaeffer for about 6 months when he bought the restaurant. I came to the interview for Next Door with a letter of recommendation from Chef Shaeffer, and since he was a consultant in opening the restaurant it was my connection to him that helped land me the gig. And for that I’m very grateful.
This is my first time having the title of “Pastry Chef”. I like to joke that I got type cast at Next Door. A fat girl showed up at the interview and they assumed I knew my way around a pastry! Actually, I was responsible for the desserts most of my time at Chimney Park, and Jason knew I was capable in that regard. I’ve been working in restaurants in some capacity since I was in high school, but I don’t have a culinary degree. My degree is in Visual Arts. Which ties in well with culinary arts, especially pastry. My Dad loves to bake pies and sweet breads and my Mom is all about the cookies at Christmas time, so they laid a good foundation for me in the pastry kitchen. I’m married to a fellow chef, Ernie. He’s semi-retired now, but I still go to him for advice on culinary matters.
How do you develop the dessert menu? How often do you change it?
The dessert menu is a collection of collaborative ideas. Sometimes our chef would come to me with ideas, sometimes the restaurant owners encounter something that really strikes a chord with them, and I research it and develop our own spin on it. Any of our cooks can make suggestions. I always try to let seasonality dictate the direction of my menus, but we’ve reached the point where certain items are customer favorites, and I get too many requests to bring them back after dropping them from a menu. The Peanut Butter Pie is an example of that.
What is your favorite dessert on the menu and why?
The Crème Brulee. I haven’t been able to do many dessert specials lately, because of time constraints. But the flavor changes on the Crème Brulee give me a chance to be creative.