Eric Keppler, the newest member of the Quattro Culinary Team (quickly thrown into the craziness of the holiday season) has adapted seamlessly. As the new Pastry Chef at Quattro, Eric is responsible for the “yum factor” that is a key ingredient of all great meals – dessert.
As a young child, Eric never imagined that his passion of baking could be a career. Regular lessons with his Nana and his natural talent provided the foundation for him to make baking a part of his life. It was not until attending Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts in Rhode Island that he found interest, drive and success in school. His culinary school experience exceeded any of his expectations. He had never thought of pastry “on that level”.
Eric is an East Coaster born and raised – although he is not shy to admit that he has no intention of rushing back anytime soon (much to the disappointment of his Mother and his Nana). His Nana has always been an integral part of Eric’s passion for baking. Growing up in the depression, she learned to work with the basics and make everything from scratch! To Eric the most memorable dessert of all the things she made was her chocolate blackout cake with peanut butter icing.
Eric’s growing up was clearly rooted in traditional American style dessert; his favorite still today is a traditional berry pie. However, his love of traveling all over the world and his innate curiousity has shaped him into the dynamic baker he is today. From his first job as a cake decorator at a supermarket to interning with five star Austrian Pastry Chef, Gerhard Michler, Eric believes that each apprenticeship and opportunity has contributed to a part of his identity.
Who are some other pastry chefs that you really respect, who you haven’t worked with, and why?
French Pastry Chef, Pierre Herme. He is most famous for his macaroons, but his talent goes much further. I appreciate the French culture because it allows freedom in dessert but at the same time great attention to intricate and detail oriented work. They buy locally and the culture is passionate about creative freedom.
If you could only eat one more dessert, what would it be, and who would make it? It can’t be you.
I can’t choose. This is difficult. It really is a toss up between Nana’s Blackout Cake with Peanut Butter Icing and Pierre Herme.
What’s an example of a technique that was especially challenging to learn?
I would have to say piping or working with chocolate. Piping is something that only gets better with a massive amount of practice. My teacher at culinary school has us use toothpaste on parchment paper to practice.
What makes chocolate difficult to work with is … it goes against all the rules, they way it is cooked, prepared, formed etc.
If your personality could best be described by a dessert, which would it be?
Pie, tasty but comforting.
Eric’s latest pastry creation for Quattro is a Candy Bar Trio. The Candy Bar Trio will consist of a play on Snickers, Almond Joy and Take 5, keeping the flavors of the candy bars but taking them to a new level of heightened flavor and added texture. As Eric continues to create new desserts for the menu he will combine a modern-European style with some hometown flair.