Two days after graduating college, I followed my heart from Virginia to Manhattan, unpacked my grandfather’s flame-colored Le Creusets, and started my straight-and-narrow path to adulthood. Homesickness struck before I unpacked my last cardboard box. I sought comfort in the kitchen, but the minimal counter space, two-burner range, apartment-sized refrigerator, and absence of an oven offered little inspiration. Ordering take-out soon grew tiresome, not so much due to the price tag, but because I knew I had the ability to create something better. To further my troubles and not for lack of trying, I could not find one baked good in the city to satisfy my sweet tooth.
When I should have been reading Financial Times, food magazines and blogs consumed my attention. I spent weekends perusing cookbooks, collecting recipes, and exploring the bounty of local fruits and vegetables at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. Soon I was whipping up meals in my tiny kitchen, counting down the hours each workday until I would again be soothed by the the sharp “tap, tap, tap” of my knife grazing the wooden cutting board. Desserts required an extra dose of creativity, but I satisfied my cravings with a variety of non-baked sweets: ice creams, sorbets, granitas, custards, candies.
Somewhere amongst the earmarked recipes, navigating the crowded farmer’s market, and the endless supply of dirty dishes, I realized my true passion was not in finance, but in the kitchen. The following year, I graduated with highest honors from The Institute of Culinary Education, officially ended my short-lived career in finance, and trained professionally under pastry chef Nancy Olson at the Michelin-starred Gramercy Tavern. Currently, I work as a marketing coordinator at FOOD & WINE. Despite my formal training, I continue to cook and bake from the same small kitchen, although a counter-top oven, which holds one quarter-sheet tray, has joined the mix.
Dolcetto Confections evolved into a place for me to share my recipes, favorite neighborhood spots, and travels through my words and camera lens. Each post provides a glimpse into my life and kitchen, which require me to step outside my comfort zone and experiment with recipes I might otherwise avoid given plentiful counter space and the luxury of full-sized appliances. After all, with a little creativity and love, even the smallest of kitchens can feed your family, friends, and soul.