Portraits

MEET THE CHEF ADAM THOMAS

In the Meet The Chef series, discover a Cercle V chef, learning their background, inspirations, and ideas. Enjoy the in-depth Q&A with each chef along with an exclusive recipe.

Adam Thomas

Meet the Chef Adam Thomas
Chef Thomas has practiced the sweet side of the culinary arts in celebrated kitchens all over the world including Italy, New York, Singapore, Denver, Los Angeles, and the Bahamas. Not to mention participating in chocolate competitions in Germany and Spain. Now residing in colorful Colorado, Adam oversees all the baking and pastry operations for The Broadmoor’s diverse Foof & Beverage program in Colorado Springs including the newly opened pastry boutique, Café Julies.


Q&A

What inspired you to enter the world of pastry?
I have an art background and I saw the opportunity to express myself artistically with pastry. I was already working in food & beverage and I felt comfortable in the industry, cooking and serving came naturally to me. However, I didn’t like working with raw proteins and smelling like a hot line at the end of the day. Now I smell like sugar and chocolate…=)I love the organization, discipline and accuracy in baking & pastry. There is no ‘by chance’. You either followed the recipe or you didn’t. There is plenty of room for creativity and innovation but you must respect the balance and details of a formula. Pre smartphone era I would look at magazines covering chefs and competitions in Vegas, France and Asia. I wanted to do what they were doing.

From where do your inspirations for new creations come?
Ingredients. I am most inspired by interesting and very high integrity ingredients. Ingredients with a story. Seasons of course with produce and availability. Looking forward to the seasons and anticipating the fruit is exciting. Having an art background I am inspired buy lots of different avenues of art including design, paintings, photography, music, etc. A lot of inspirations comes from the amazing team here at the resort. They are always pushing and asking questions. They are very excited to create and develop dishes, cakes, petit gateaux etc. I feed off of that energy.

Who in your life has been the biggest mentor/inspiration in your career?
I’ve been lucky to be touched by so many amazing people. I was raised by Jeff (Jean Francois) Lehuede, currently at Pelican Hill in California. He was my mentor into hotels and pastry shops. To this day he is in the back of my head. Chef Yves Fornier was my chef instructor at culinary school and now runs a beautiful bakery called The French Oven in San Diego. He gave me the fundamentals for pastry skills. Stephane Tread MOF Patissier taught me artistic approach to pastry, visual and aesthetics. There have been a lot of executive chefs and F&B directors (too many to name) who taught me the business sense, leadership and how to think outside of the kitchen. 

What is your most famous dish?
Probably the Chocolate Crunch Cake, It’s been with me my whole career though in many different versions and formats. Brownie biscuit, a thin layer of hazelnut praline feuilletine, a thin layer of ganache, a layer of passion fruit cremeux finished with a whipped milk chocolate ganache and deco. It’s my go-to pastry, everyone loves it.

What is your earliest dessert memory?
My Mom’s fig bars. Chewy, a little salty, not too sweet and delicious. Satisfying.

What is your favorite type of pastry to make? To eat?
At work, I focus a lot of my time on chocolate and confections, bonbon, praline, panning, etc. I love the intricacies of boutique chocolate and confection work. To eat, I love standing in front of the gelato machine and getting fresh gelato as it’s being extracted, specifically our chocolate gelato made with our proprietary 66% blend. At home, with my daughter, we like to make baked fruit tarts. Pate sucre, frangipane and the best fruit available. Always best the next morning with coffee.

If you could pass one bit of insight down to another chef, what would it be?
Chef, this is a selfless business. Don’t forget that we are in the hospitality business, the business of making people feel good. We make pastry for personal celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. It’s about the guest experience. Cook, be patient. The word chef just means you are in charge, it means you are now responsible for other people. Enjoy cooking, baking and hone your skills. Focus on fundamentals, learn them, and own them, progress,

What is your favorite kitchen tip?
Clean and organize. You cannot do anything successfully in an unclean and unorganized environment.

What is your favorite Valrhona Chocolate?
 Manjari 64% is nostalgic, it was what most colleagues in my generation remember being introduced to as a high-end couverture. Araguani 72% was my first experience cooking with a high percentage chocolate. It has a special place in my heart.

What is your favorite perk of the Cercle V program?
Connections, networking, technical support, exposure, friendships.

When & how did you hear about Valrhona for the first time? / When & how did your “relationship” with Valrhona start?
The pastry chef I worked for growing up in the industry only pulled Valhrona out for high-end events and in the fine dining room. Only he had access to it. However, the executive chef of the property would come in every day at 4 pm and grab a handful of feves and place then between a demi-baguette. It was Araguani 72%! I was curious seeing this. My relationship really began in Europe when competing in the Valrhona C3 competition in Germany and Spain. Never looked back after that.

Who do you follow on social media?
Professionally I like following the more classic/legacy folks in Europe like:
Patrick Roger, Pierre Herme, Jean Paul Hevin, Jacques Genin, Oriol Balaguer, and other close friends in the industry. Personally I like following hiking and art accounts along with some old skateboarding and punk rock folks.

What do you like to post on social media?
Realistic production and finished work we are doing here at the resort and in our boutique, Café Julie’s.

QUICKFIRE

Nickname?

AT

Celsius or Fahrenheit?
Celcius

Cake or Tart?
Tart, baked fruit tart.

Favorite restaurant?
L’astrance, Paris.
Papaya, Ko Pi Pi Thailand

Go-to snack?
I’m a sucker for a salty chip.

Wine or Cheese?
Cheese washed down with wine.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, black.

Favorite kitchen tool?
Bowl scraper. Universal resource many applications.

Craziest delicious flavor combination?
I did a dinner once for the Minister in Singapore, it was my last night in Singapore and I wanted to go out with a bang. We did a dessert with coconut, chocolate, pandan, and chili. It was a hard sell but it worked.

EXCLUSIVE RECIPE
SUMMER STRAWBERRY TART WITH BROADMOOR FARMS MINT ICE CREAM

strawberry tart

INGREDIENTS
ALMOND SUGAR DOUGH
712g 83% butter
345g powdered sugar
250g almond flour
3g salt
1 vanilla bean
315g whole fresh eggs
1225g AP flour
 

FRANGIPANE
397g butter
397g sugar
851g VALRHONA 70% ALMOND PASTE
595g whole eggs
340g cake flour

STRAWBERRY PASTRY CREAM
1200g milk
190g sugar
252g eggs
2ea vanilla bean
90g cornflour
175g VALRHONA STRAWBERRY INSPIRATION

STRAWBERRY MARMELADE
500g fresh strawberries
175g sugar
80 glucose syrup
40g sugar
10g NH pectin
50g lemon juice

KIRSCH SIMPLE SYRUP
150g sugar
400g water
80g kirsch
1ea lemon zest
1ea vanilla bean

STRAWBERRY INSPIRATION DECO
500g VALRHONA STRAWBERRY INSPIRATION

GLAZE
100g water
300g VALRHONA ABSOLUTE CRISTAL
40g kirsch

MINT ICE CREAM
1000g whole milk
110g milk powder
200g sugar
8g ice cream stabilizer
1ea vanilla bean
40g trimoline
glucose powder
200g heavy cream
38g egg yolks
100g fresh mint


STEPS
ALMOND SUGAR DOUGH
1. Cream butter with powdered sugar.
2. Add eggs and vanilla to butter, followed by flours with salt.
3. Scale to blocks and chill overnight.
4. Bake at 190°C (375 °F) for 12-15 min, until golden.

FRANGIPANE
1.  Cream butter and sugar together until sugar is well incorporated.
2.  Add VALRHONA 70% ALMOND PASTE and mix for 10 min until light and fluffy.
3.  Add eggs, a little at a time, being sure to scrape in between additions.
4.  Once eggs are emulsified into butter mixture add flour and mix just until combined. Reserve in a cooler until ready for use.

STRAWBERRY PASTRY CREAM
1.   Bring milk and half of the sugar to scalding with vanilla bean.
2.   Mix eggs with cornflour and remaining sugar.
3.   Rest 10 min to relax the lecithin.
4.   Temper milk with egg mixture and cook on high heat until thick.
5.   Remove from heat and mix in a tabletop mixer to evaporate the steam.
6.   Once the pastry cream is 35°C (95 °F) add the STRAWBERRY INSPIRATION and emulsify.
7.   Reserve in the cooler until ready to use.

STRAWBERRY MARMELADE
1.   Cut the strawberries into quarters.
2.   Bring the first sugar and glucose to a boil.
3.   Add the quartered strawberries and bring to a boil.
4.   Mix the second sugar with the pectin, add to the mixture and bring to a boil for 1 min.
5.   Add lemon juice. Reserve in a cooler until ready to use.

KIRSCH SIMPLE SYRUP
1.   Bring all ingredients to a boil.
2.   Strain to remove vanilla bean and lemon zest.
3.   Reserve in a cooler until ready to use.

STRAWBERRY INSPIRATION DECO
1.   Temper STRAWBERRY INSPIRATION with a wave of 48/26/28.
2.   Spread on pour onto acetate 16” x 14”.
3.   Place another acetate sheet on top.
4.   Using a rolling pin or PVC pipe push the chocolate between the sheets to thin it out.
5.   Using plastic ring cutters cut discs.
6.   Roll cut decos around PVC pipe and allow crystallization for 24 hours.

MINT ICE CREAM
1.   Blanch Mint.
2.   Blend with vanilla IC base in a VITAMIX.
3.   Strain and process in IC machine with the manufacturer’s instructions.

ASSEMBLY & FINISHING
1.   Sheet almond sugar dough out to 1/8” thick.
2.   Line 3” tart rings with dough and ‘fonçage’.
3.   Place on perforated Silpat and bake at 180°C (356°F) for 12 min or until slightly golden brown.
4.   Remove from oven and cool.
5.   Pipe a thin layer of strawberry marmalade and top with a thin layer of frangipane, about one third the way of the baked tart shell.
6.   Ensure it is level and to the edges of the tart shell.
7.   Bake at 180°C (356°F) for 12-15 min or until properly caramelized and baked through. Remove from oven and immediately brush generously with Kirsch simple syrup. Allow the tart to cool.
8.   Pipe strawberry pastry cream on top of the baked frangipane and spread with an offset spatula to ensure thorough coverage.
9.   Place quartered strawberries and raspberries organically around the tart.
10.   Using a gravity feed HPLV gun and an air compressor, glaze the tart.
11.   Quenelle mint IC on top and finish with inspiration deco and mint leaves.

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