Welcome back to “10 Dishes,” a video series in which we head behind the scenes with 10 NYC chefs to hear the stories behind their signature dishes.
When pastry chef Dominique Ansel first took us through his career-defining dishes last year, he decided to choose nine items instead of the usual 10. In retrospect, it’s like he knew what was about to happen: Just a month later, he launched the Cronut™, the viral pastry sensation that began in his humble Soho bakery and spawned imitators the world over.
Clearly, the Cronut is the dish that transformed Ansel from a chef to a pop-culture icon. But within the context of his craft, it’s just one of many game-changing desserts in his arsenal. As time goes on, it feels more like that tenth spot was purposefully left as a placeholder not just for a the Cronut, but a rotating cast of new innovations, from frozen s’mores to the cookie shot.
On the bakery’s new spring menu, Ansel is most excited about the “Lime Me Up” tart, an interactive key-lime dessert that allows guests to add Maldon sea salt, brown sugar, and juniper to their liking. In an age of ego-driven chefs intent on telling you how to eat their food, it’s a reminder the Cronut hasn’t made Ansel’s head too big. He just wants to make people happy with pastry, plain and simple.
Watch the video above to watch Dominique Ansel construct the “Lime Me Up” tart and explain why he never wants the Cronut to define his bakery.