To bake, make confections: this is a liberation. For me, there is magic in the precision of a recipe, just as there is freedom.
Take buttercream. You have to be so patient and careful, whisking those egg whites over a simmering water bath. Then, on the mixer, you might spend another thirty minutes slowly depositing butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, into this mixture, begging, convincing it to hold more. You're having a conversation with it.
And then, right in front of your eyes, it magically changes from what is clearly a meringue to clearly a buttercream. And that moment, that three-second window, when it morphs from one seemingly impossible physical state to another, is endlessly thrilling. I always drag over the new cooks and say, "Watch this.”
I love making confections, and I love making cocktails; they're so similar in the way that they're approached, then built. They both require tasting, specific measurement, lots of development, and harnessing of the environment. You learn where the thresholds are, why the measurements fall where they do. So many parallels; they're not often put together, but it works. This workshop is my love letter to cocktail culture.
I have been a pastry chef for more than 20 years. I’ve tenured at some of this country’s finest 4-star restaurants (Camapanile Los Angeles, St. Regis Los Angeles, Miro at the Ritz-Carlton, Santa Barbara, Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Washington, D.C.), and earned 2 Michelin rosettes at Cyrus of Healdsburg, California.
Chapman’s is an ever-developing recipe. I’ve named it for my brother, Joseph Chapman Clemmons, Corporal, USMC. We lost him to cancer in 2012. Joe’s joy is my inspiration — his twinkling eyes and ravishing dimple could melt hearts. I’m a cancer survivor myself, thirteen years now. Chapman's is also for my daughter, who has been by my side, helping, inspiring this to grow.
Life can be hard, but we can help with the joy part. Eat a little candy.
- Annie Clemmons