By Claire Perez, Correspondent
3:28 PM EDT, May 8, 2013
Name: Sarah Sipe
Title: Pastry chef
Location: Sundy House, 106 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; 561-272-5678, sundyhouse.com
Time at this location: Six months
Food prepared: Homestyle desserts using classic French techniques
Background: Sarah Sipe grew up in Orange City, where she watched and learned from her mother's daily rituals. "We sat together as a family for dinner every night. My dad had a sweet tooth. He loved pecan pie, root beer floats and butter pecan ice cream. That's where I get my sweet side and passion for pastry. I think you have to be passionate in order to succeed in this business," Sipe says. Her first foray into cake decorating was at a cooking class for kids. At 8 years old, she was building sugar-cube walls for Humpty Dumpty cakes to sit on. These days, her creations are more refined but still have a sense of playfulness and nostalgia.
Sipe followed the advice of a teacher who encouraged her to pursue culinary school at Johnson & Wales University. She spent her first year at the North Miami campus. As a native Floridian, her desire to experience life outside the state led her to transfer to the Rhode Island campus for her final year. Sipe focused her studies on pastry.
After graduating from culinary school in 2001, she signed on for an internship with a catering company in Vienna, Austria. Major corporate accounts allowed her to work and travel throughout Germany and Italy. Upon returning to Miami, she continued to build her resume working with Chefs Dean Max at 3030 Ocean, Frederic Monnet at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, and Michelle Bernstein at Michy's. Sipe credits Monnet for being a mentor who helped build her career through training, influence and guidance.
In 2009, when Michelle Bernstein opened her namesake restaurant at The Omphoy, Palm Beach, Sipe teamed up with Executive Chef Lindsay Autry for the launch. Their similar philosophies and approach to food and cooking complimented each other. So when Autry took over the Sundy House in 2012, Sipe was her natural choice for the sweet side of the things.
Since her arrival, Sipe has elevated the pastry department, making homestyle desserts with a fresh, modern twist, from scratch just like her mom did.
Q: You have a lot of childhood memories of your mom in the kitchen, do you recall making anything special for Mother's Day as a kid?
A: My younger brother, Andy, and I served her breakfast in bed on a TV tray with flowers that were probably weeds pulled from the yard. We made eggs, toast, coffee and juice. She was super-excited. When I was around 10 years old, I made her a cake with buttercream roses.
Q: If you have a weak moment, what food do you grab?
A: Ice cream or chocolate chip cookies. I make really good ones.
Q: Do you have a pet peeve in the kitchen?
A: Wet quart containers drive me insane. They stick together and smell. Why can't people just dry them?
Q: I really wish I could…
A: Travel more.
Q: Where would you go?
A: Back to Europe, all over, but probably Spain first, to eat.
Q: What's your desert island food?
Q: Is there an underappreciated dessert on your menu?
A: A yogurt cloud cake with white chocolate beet mousse, candied beets and chocolate soil, which is a chocolate streusel. I think people are scared of it, but it's great. I use a dry yogurt powder, egg whites, almond flour and a Co2 charger to make the cake, which is baked in a paper cup in the microwave. It turns out like an angel food cake or a souffle that won't fall.
For Mother's Day
Sundy House will feature a Mother's Day Brunch on Sunday, with two-hour seatings from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. The price is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Sundy House is closed that evening for dinner service.
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