On October 11 at 9 p.m., 41 of the greatest pastry chefs and bakers in the city will converge at La.venue for the New York Wine & Food Festival's Sweet dessert party. Tickets are $175 in advance, and we have four more pairs to give away this week. If you didn't win in the previous contest, no worries. You can enter again here by answering the following question at the bottom of this post: What's your guilty pleasure sweet?
But first, to get you prepped for the event, we've asked some of the participants to sit down for a special dessert-themed Meet & Eat. This week it's Pichet Ong chef-owner of P*ong and Batch. He's the rare pastry chef that has expanded into savory cooking (P*ong is a full-service restaurant) without abandoning his sweet roots, (Batch is his bakery). Ong's guilty pleasure sweet is Maltesers, Europe's answer to Whopper malted milk balls. He's been known to eat a pound of Maltesers (70 balls) in one sitting. That's a lot of candy to feel guilty about.
Name: Pichet Ong
Location: New York City
Occupation: Chef-Owner of P*ong and Batch
What inspires you the most as a pastry chef? Flavors I enjoyed when I discovered loving desserts as a child.
Which pastry chef or cookbook author has had the greatest influence on your desserts? My mom and my aunt with whom I baked with during the holidays.
What's your favorite childhood dessert memory? An overly ripe banana that taste sweet like a dessert, with some Rice Krispies in a bowl of Ovaltine. At the time I was allergic to dairy so it was made with water.
Chocolate Chip Cookies: Chewy or Crispy? Crispy outside, chewy center.
Brownies: Cakey or fudgy? Nuts or no nuts? Cakey on the surface, fudgy in the inside. No nuts.
Black and White Cookies: Yay or Nay? No.
Ice Cream, Frozen Custard or Gelato: What's your preference? Ice cream.
What is your guilty pleasure sweet? Maltesers. I can eat a pound of them (70 balls) in one sitting. You can't find that in the U.S., so I like to load up my "snack luggage" when I travel abroad to places where you can find them. I recently returned from Amsterdam with them.
Is there a dessert you absolutely loathe? There isn't a dessert I loath. But in general I don't order bread pudding, unless there is a lot of texture of custard.
Ingredient that should never appear in a dessert? I'm not a big fan of onion or anything of that family in dessert. Definitely not raw.
Is there a great dessert missing from New York's restaurants and bakeries? I often have craving for certain baked goods at certain times. I was looking for alfajores recently and didn't know where to find it. And where can you find a delicious linzer cookie?
Most memorable New York City meal? Restaurant and dessert shop hopping in west village, perhaps with four stops.
Best pizza in the city? I love Franny's, Grimaldi's, and recently Artichoke.
Favorite burger? Stand, Shake Shack, and Johnny Rockets.
Favorite bagel? Noah's.
Best late-night eats? Kurve, Lan, Rockmeisha, Kang Suh, NY Noodletown.
Undiscovered gem? On Mott Street in Chinatown, Shanghai Cafe is way underrated for best soup dumplings and many Shanghainese specialties
What is New York missing, foodwise? More fine dining Asian concepts! and more dessert shops.
Win a Pair of Tickets for the Sweet Dessert Party
Alright, now you can enter to win the Sweet dessert party tickets. To put your hat in the ring, just answer this question in the comments below: What's your guilty pleasure sweet?
Four winners will be chosen at random from among eligible commenters. Contest will end and comments will close at noon ET, Wednesday, October 8, 2008. One entry per community member. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.