By Liam Mayclem, the KCBS Foodie Chap
Born in New Orleans, Executive Pastry Chef William Werner of Tell Tale Preserve Co. discovered his passion for the culinary arts while working as a lifeguard on the beaches of Florida.
After working his way up through several fine dining restaurants, William joined the team of Noah in Sarasota, Florida, as a sous chef in 1998, working under esteemed Chef Daniel Boulud. William joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in 2003 as an Assistant Pastry Chef in Sarasota. In 2005, he relocated to The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California as Executive Pastry Chef.
Upon his departure from The Ritz-Carlton in 2007, William started his own creative consulting firm, polite/persuasion, as way to travel, learn, develop concepts, and teach. He worked in Tokyo, Tain- l’Hermitage, France and New York City, before returning to San Francisco. In January 2009, he joined the renowned Quince restaurant to much fanfare as Executive Pastry Chef .
In February 2010, Werner joined Whisk Group as the Executive Pastry Chef for Tell Tale Preserve Co. and began planning the opening of the patisserie on Maiden Lane in San Francisco’s Union Square District, set for mid 2011.
William lives in San Francisco with his girlfriend Sarah and their dog Polly Jean.
I became an instant fan of this brilliant pastry artist since first encountering his tasty treats in 2006 at the Inside The Kitchen event at Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.
We connected over Smoked Almond Brittle recently at his Tell Tale Preserve Co. stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on a recent Saturday morn.
5 Tasty Questions with Chef William Werner
1. Earliest sweet memory?
My Mom used to always have toffee lying around that she made and I would always sneak this toffee until I was sickenly sweet.
2. The most exquisite dessert you have ever made?
Of course I like to thing all my desserts are exquisite, but if I had to choose one, we did the GQ Man of the year desserts. Four desserts on one plate for 250 people.
3. Do you have cake on your birthday and do you have your and eat it?
I traditionally do not have cake on my birthday. I like a liquid dessert. But if I did have cake it would be an almond cake.
4. When your sweet tooth hits what do you go for first?
Just chocolate. And now it’s chocolate with a little peanut butter.
5. Your last supper – dead or alive – what would you eat and who would your dinner guests be?
My wonderful girlfriend Sarah, PJ Harvey and Abraham Lincoln. My Grandfather Owen whom I have never met.
And oysters and cold beers on the beach.
LM: Five tasty questions. Chef William. Thank you.
Chef William Werner’s Smoked Almond Brittle
1/2 cup and 3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup smoked almonds
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp butter
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp baking soda
1. Place sugar, water and glucose into a pot and cook to 239F
2. When syrup reaches approximately 230F, place smoked almonds into an oven to warm, not toast.
3. When syrup reaches 239F, add warm smoked almonds and salt and mix to coat nuts.
4. Continue cooking to approximately 300F. A rich caramel color should develop, stir as not to scorch.
5. When color is achieved, add the butter, then take off heat and stir in baking soda.
6. Immediately pour onto a lightly greased silpat and let cool, folding the border back towards the middle to distribute heat evenly.
7. As caramel starts to firm up stretch to thin out. Let set, and then break into appropriate size pieces.
8. Store in an airtight container
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