Sticky toffee pudding. It’s pastry chef Chrysta Poulos’ signature dessert and it’s the only item that can always be found in her ever-changing dessert lineup. It was on the menu when she worked at both Holeman and Finch and 4th & Swift and it’s on the menu now in her new home base at Woodfire Grill.
Chrysta replaces Brittany Emerson, former pastry chef at Woodfire, who accepted another position in her native New England. Kevin Gillespie, co-owner and executive chef of Woodfire Grill, said, “We knew this day would come. When we started, Brittany was straight out of school. She had a lot of talent and potential but not a lot of experience. Brittany came to me and said she had exhausted her ideas; she wanted to learn more.”
Chrysta was also ready for a change after two years at 4th & Swift. The grapevine worked its magic and Kevin learned through a former cook of his who now works at 4th & Swift that Chrysta might have interest in a move. Kevin told me that although he was “wary of taking someone from another restaurant,” after a tasting with Chrysta, “we offered her a position on the spot. The transition was seamless. It’s never that easy.”
Chrysta’s cooking style is as playful as her brilliantly pink hair. Savory items frequently find themselves as key components in desserts. For example, her current menu sports an apple tart tatin with foie gras ice cream. She also creates nostalgic versions of childhood favorites, such as her take on the s’more: dehydrated chocolate mousse, graham cracker ice cream and marshmallow fluff.
Her playfulness seems to be just what Woodfire Grill hoped to find. Kevin said, “She has a whimsical quality to start. We have slowly sculpted Woodfire Grill into the restaurant it is today — the food has grown and changed. We needed a newness and more sophistication to the desserts. Chrysta has elevated them to the next level.”
If you’re a Chrysta Poulos fan, rest assured that she’s taking her sticky toffee pudding to Woodfire Grill. You can even try making it yourself. A while back, Chrysta shared it at a reader’s request.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog