December 3, 2017

Dakota And Louisiana

Dress Hall is coming up on December 9th. Its the one year anniversary show and guaranteed to thrill you beyond your expectations.

Well, now that Dakota’s gone we can finally talk about him. He has been called back to his native land of Louisiana, specifically to the food mecca of New Orleans. It is our loss and their gain, but let’s stick to the positive here.

Dakota took our pastry program from the primitive place holder it once was to a professional level of which we are very proud. He brought over his famous peanut butter cookies from The Downbeat Cafe days, he developed our s’more cookie sandwich, made spectacular peak of season jams, figured out our gluten free sandwich bread.

Dakota was equally happy preparing chocolate chip cookies and brownies as he was creating advanced and intricate desserts for special dinners and cooking competitions. The dacquoise that he made for one of the competitions particularly sticks in my mind.

Our Tuesday night prix fixe menu was where Dakota really made us stand out. I’m not sure if people actually realized how special that $20 three course menu deal actually was with the quality level of the third course — dessert. His expertise made seemingly simple pies and cakes shine with well balanced fillings, perfect textures, tender doughs. His creamy semifreddos, ultra light profiteroles, home-made graham crackers for crusts, home-made lady fingers for tiramisu, are all sure signs of a man who has control of his craft and is capable of elevating that craft into a work of art.

As much as his work is appreciated and admired here, our greatest loss is Dakota himself. He is relentlessly positive, eager to experiment, grow and challenge himself. He is an excellent teacher, encouraging, patient and capable of explaining technique in understandable ways. He is friendly to everyone, enamored with food and drink in a way that is unexpected from someone who has been in the business as long as he has. He is not only reliable in his assigned work and tasks, but consistently goes above and beyond those tasks, always willing to help more, stay a little later, cover a shift.

Dakota is a special guy. He has contributed greatly to the success of The Park and to making us what we are today. We will miss him in ways large and small, in fact, I already do. I am grateful for all he has given to us over the years and I know that I speak for everyone here when I wish him great success in this move and in his career development.

Chef Josh

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