Lauren Yerrick, Pastry Chef, Cassique at Kiawah Island Club / recipe to right: Huckleberry Pie Gelato
Tell us about your passion for the pastry arts?
I have wanted to work in the pastry arts industry since I was nine years old when I started playing with cake decorating. I went to culinary school at DCT University in Switzerland, and shortly after began working in a bakery making bread and pastries in my hometown in Ohio. I decided to move from North Canton to Charleston, South Carolina to find more opportunities. I was very interested in plated desserts and fine dining. I discovered in an online advertisement that Cassique was looking for a pastry Sous Chef. I interviewed, then staged, and have had a great experience. I enjoy the work as well as the people, and I’ve now been here for almost two years.
Do you have any mentors?
When I first started here, I was working under the pastry chef Andrea Wolfe-Ralph. She was just an amazing person to work for, and she taught me so much. I am still friends with her today, and I often contact her to ask her opinion about new flavors and menu items.
Do you enjoy working with Executive Chef Doug Blair?
I love working with Doug. He is very passionate about what we do here, and he’s very encouraging. He’s fun, and he always introducing me to new ingredients as well as new methods of cooking, and keeps things changing.
Do you have the freedom to create new menu items?
We have a lot of staples on the menu like coconut cake, chocolate cake, and vanilla bean crème brûlée, and I don’t change those dishes as they are member favorites, but I do create my own as well.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration by following many chefs on social media and researching new ingredients and produce I haven’t worked with before, and I like to try different flavor combinations. I’ll look at the dessert menu and see what is missing, and then I’ll create new items like a tart or a custard, but put my own spin on it!
What do you enjoy about being a member of the Cassique team?
Because we are a private club, we are more fortunate than most restaurants regarding budget. I get to experiment and order more high quality and unique ingredients than I would at a regular restaurant. When I was first offered the job here, I was nervous because of the responsibility of doing so much more than just dinner in the restaurant. We also have a lot of functions and catering events in the peak season. It’s a lot of pressure, but I enjoy the challenge.
Are the members responsive to your dessert menu?
I enjoy giving the members something a little bit different, but still familiar enough for them to try. Eventually, they become willing to try many new flavors. My goat cheese and lavender tart is a little outside the box. We ask for feedback from the servers, and it’s always nice to hear that the members appreciate what we have prepared for them.
Do you have any other interests?
Yes, I want to try my hand at food photography. I’m very confident I can do both, as even now I’m regularly shooting everything I find captivating in the kitchen!
FULL INTERVIEW available in Golf Kitchen