Confection connoisseurs, get ready to rejoice. The Munchery chef roster has a new addition: a pastry chef to reckon with. So, please join us in welcoming Jennifer Bratko and her Beyond Buttercream brand to Munchery. We are already very fortunate to be working with amazing pastry talents such as Lauren Cox and Remi Hayashi, so adding Jennifer is a super bonus.
Completely self-taught, Jennifer is the winner of numerous baking and cake decoration competitions. Take a look at her Beyond Buttercream website and it is clear her sweet creations are quite beautiful. And as visually striking as her creations are, what struck us was how good they tasted. Often in high end baking, flavor is compromised for appearance – something that Jennifer feels very strongly should not be the case. And we agree. Let’s just say that there was hardly a crumb leftover when Jennifer came in for her Munchery tasting. Jennifer is very committed to making everything from scratch using high quality ingredients. She has even developed her own signature buttercream and 100% organic gluten-free flour. No inexpensive alternatives and no cutting corners. But don’t take it from us, check the Munchery menu for her next sweet offering and have a try for yourself.
Recently, we sat down with Jennifer to get to know a little more about her background, interests and colorful personality.
Which celebrity chef would you most like to cook with and what would you want to prepare? I would love to bake with Chef Ron Ben Israel, but I’d KILL to make sugar flowers with him. His cakes are art and he’s such a wonderful personality on TV it would really be an honor.
Your cousin from out-of-town has a long layover at SFO. He hops in a cab and texts you wanting to know the one thing he has to eat in the city before he rushes back to the airport. What do you tell him? I really dig hot dogs from Showdogs on Market and 6th. Delicious food with a glimpse of gritty city living.
Do you feel as though you have a signature dish? If so, what is it? My Swiss meringue buttercream is my signature, and it’s my own personal recipe. It’s made from cooked egg whites and sugar that are whipped into a meringue with butter folded in. It’s silky smooth, not that sweet, and is the type of platform I can load up with real fruit, chocolates and nuts. It takes cake to a whole new sophisticated level.
Invite five famous or infamous folks (they can be alive or dead) to your dinner party. Who are they and what will you serve them? Strangely, I am having a “Downton Abbey” sort-of fantasy… Elizabeth I, Beethoven, Joss Wheaton, Bill Clinton and Matthew Shepard. I’d probably make a dessert buffet of mini cupcakes, macarons, profiteroles, and pot du creme. As a bonus I’d like to invite Tom Hardy to be my personal footman.
Which of your cookbooks has the most pages covered in olive oil and flour i.e. which one can’t you live without? The Cake Bible.
In your opinion, what are a few ingredients that we should definitely shop for at farmers markets and which should we leave to the supermarket aisles? If you can look the person in the eye that actually made the item at the farmer’s market, buy it. Stuff I leave to the grocery stores are boxes of cereal. I can’t live without my Honey Nut Cheerios.
Which newly in-season product are you most excited to start slicing and dicing? Cranberries. Magical things happen with those tart, flavorless things when you add a little love.
Think back to to your high school cafeteria days…what lunch lady “delicacies” used to make it onto your plastic tray? I lived off gallons of coke and 1000 Grand candy bars in High School! Although, there was this pizza joint across the street from my high school that sold the greasiest, slimiest “pizza” you could imagine. It was foul, but it was a buck a slice.
If we peeked inside your fridge right now what would we discover? Lots of condiments and no food.
What ingredient do you least like to work with? Mint. Hate it. Can’t be around it.
What’s your favorite place to brunch in the Bay Area? I have to pick just one? Whichever one I can get a table and a mimosa at.
What artist or album do you like to rock out to while you’re cooking? I seem to be stuck in the 80’s and 90’s when I work, so lots of Bad Religion, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Incubus etc. I basically just put my iphone on random and let it go.