Ginger Niles

ginger-niles-pastry-chefExecutive Pasty Chef, The Med at La Valencia

Past: Juniper & Ivy, Brooklyn Girl, Searsucker
Studied at: The Art Institute – San Diego

What is the first recipe you ever baked?
I’ve been cooking for as long as I can remember, but I feel like one of the first things I ever officially made (I believe I was 9) was “Monkey Bread” and it was amazing. I still make it today albeit a little more sophisticated. 

What’s your go-to dessert?
See above answer 🙂 I’ve altered it from using childhood recipe of biscuits in a can to using brioche(usually, but not always), a bourbon salted caramel and spiced mascarpone icing. It still reminds me of childhood, is approachable to everyone and tastes delicious.

la-valencia-dessert

What are some of your favorite flavor combinations for desserts/baked goods?
Caramelia Chocolate & Salted Caramel; Passionfruit & Kaffir Lime; Blueberries, Pistachio & Cream

What inspired you to become a chef?
I was inspired to become a pastry chef because I have an equal love for culinary, arts and sciences. I have a background in all of these and ultimately decided that the pastry world brings all these together and would be the perfect profession for me. It inspires me to create something that is visually appealing and also delicious.

ginger-niles-dessert

What advice would you offer to anyone looking to start a culinary career?
When thinking of working in the culinary world, one needs to truly experience working in some sort of kitchen before investing in culinary school. What you see on TV and in the movies is not reality. There are many areas that encompass this world and it would help to define what and where you are passionate about. Working in restaurants is vastly different to bakeries, hotels/resorts, catering companies etc. Find a chef/restaurant/company that inspires you as well as a group of chefs that you admire and like to be around… you will spend more time with this group than your family and friends for the rest of your culinary career, this will truly become your family.