I recently sat down with Rachel Cronemeyer, the talented Pastry Chef of Honest Restaurants in the Hamptons. The restaurant group includes Nick & Toni’s, Nick & Toni’s Cafe in Manhattan, Rowdy Hall, La Fondita, Townline BBQ, and Honest Catering. She has held her position for just about a year. It is evident right away that she is skilled on so many levels when creating delectable confections; from the more casual Tres Leche at La Fondita to the aesthetically appealing Olive Oil Cake at Nick and Toni’s, artfully crafted with Citrus Compote, Meyer Lemon Mousse, and Olive Oil Gelato.
Cronemeyer began her pastry arts career at the age of fifteen when she began working for a bakery. “I have been baking my whole life. My grandmother helped me when I started in the kitchen at a young age,” said Cronemeyer. “I come from a big family, and I would make birthday cakes often [for family members].” It was when she started working at the bakery that she knew that was the career she wanted to pursue.
After studying at Suffolk Community College for Baking and Pastry Arts and from there met Claudia Fleming-Hayden, the Pastry Chef at The North Fork Table & Inn. “I trained there for about four and a half years and worked up from an assistant or pastry cook to her right-hand person. In 2013, I started my own cake business called Rachel Cronemeyer Cakes and Confections and did wedding and event cakes. After working at a few wineries, I came here [Honest Restaurants].”
There are always new dessert dishes that are being whipped up in the kitchen. This week, the focus was on the Chocolate Pot de Creme at Nick and Toni’s, and the week before was donuts. One of the most important aspects of her dessert creations is giving an accolade to the seasons. Think local incorporations such as her Oysterponds Farm Raspberry Parfait made with Local Raspberries and Caramelized White Chocolate, Ice Cream, Yellow Cake & Rasberry Caramel Sauce, and the Halsey Farm Apple Strudel: A Warm Strudel Served with Cider Reduction, Candied Walnuts & Cinnamon Gelato. “In the summer, I get berries from the North Fork [for example]. I really like to keep ingredients local whenever possible”
For customer favorites, the Tartufo is very popular at Nick and Toni’s, which is also the dessert the restaurant is known for. The Bomboloni (filled donuts), with Almond Cream, Almond-Cherry Gelato is another favorite. At Townline BBQ this winter, you may have tried her Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Gold Sprinkles, which received rave reviews.
Look out for a Pineapple Sticky Cake with Whipped Buttermilk and Macadamias, and the Chocolate Pot de Creme at Nick and Toni’s, and A Birthday Cake at Townline BBQ that is a play on a boxed Funfetti cake made from scratch, and a Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake. My current dessert favorites are her Chocolate Mousse and Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae (A Warm Brownie Served with Peanut Butter Mousse with Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream & Hot Fudge, Topped with Roasted Peanuts) both of which are found at Rowdy Hall.
Look out for Rachel Cronemeyer’s up-and-coming dessert creations at Honest Restaurants. I am excited to see what she has planned for the spring and summer. Keep an eye out for more “Sweet Sunday” reviews of her fabulous desserts!
*Photo courtesy of Nick and Toni’s.