Matthew Marotto brings his pastry chef expertise to Holiday Wars

Contestant Matt Marotto, as seen on Holiday Wars, Season 2. Photo provided by Food Network
Contestant Matt Marotto, as seen on Holiday Wars, Season 2. Photo provided by Food Network /

On Holiday Wars, Matt Marotto showcases his expert pastry chef skills.

Even though he has a Michelin Star and the successful business Cryo Cream, pastry chef Matt Marotto took on the Holiday Wars Food Network challenge. As seen in these impressive holiday displays, his skills are an asset to his team.

During Holiday Wars, the teams are tasked with difficult challenges. From a small challenge to the gigantic holiday display, these bakers must combine impressive visuals with delightful flavors. Even when teams have their frustrating moments, they need to come together in these challenges.

Recently, FoodSided had the opportunity to chat with Matt Marotto. Without revealing any secrets from Holiday Wars, he shared some insight on the Food Network competition, Cryo Cream, dessert science and some holiday dessert advice.

FoodSided: Do you think that your pastry knowledge is an advantage or disadvantage in Holiday Wars?

Matt Marotto: It’s definitely a huge advantage. I pride myself as a jack of all trades when it comes to pastry. I’ve worked Michelin starred restaurants, hotels, catering and owning my own business (which includes being handy with some power tools) , when you are making huge displays in a very fast paced environment it’s important to have a dynamic skill set. Also coming from hardcore kitchen versus everyone mentality I’m used to fast paced pressure. There nothing to prepare you for something like Holiday Wars but being “in the weeds on a Saturday night in NYC fine dining“ makes you work on a different level than most people.

FoodSided: Holiday Wars is often about overall display. How can you bring your knowledge of flavor and technique to the competition?

Marotto: I like to do unexpected things. I want to do techniques and use sugar and chocolate in ways people haven’t seen before. If you do the same old thing the same old way it’s boring. I want to be exciting. Sugar work in itself is such a versatile art. It doesn’t need to be all the same old techniques done over and over again on Wars.

FoodSided: Over the years, dessert flavors and dessert plating have pushed boundaries. What do you think will be the next dessert trend?

Marotto: The beautiful thing about food is it’s always evolving. People’s expectations evolve which in turn evokes us. It’s a beautiful thing it’s almost organic. The willingness to accept and try new flavors and expand our experience. As for what’s next I’d be a much richer man if I knew.

FoodSided: At Cryo Cream, you use some unique flavor combinations, do you think that people’s flavor preferences are changing?

Marotto: I think more importantly is exposure. Though food TV and media people are more willing to try new things. Having seen unique or different ingredients from different areas of culture coming up on there tv or news feed when they see it in “ the wild” aka real life there much more willing to try something which is great for me because I get bored easily and want to work with new flavors and mess around with different flavor combinations and profiles.

FoodSided: For the home chef, is it possible to make liquid nitrogen ice cream at home or should we leave it to the professionals?

Marotto: Hypothetically most definitely. Depending on your state regulations and access to liquid nitrogen. I use commercial stand mixers but a typical KitchenAid would do. The most important part is the custard which is creme anglaise. Basically thin pudding. Then put in mixer add favorite ingredients and blast with some Ln2.

FoodSided: Going into the holidays, what is the one holiday dessert are you looking forward to enjoying?

Marotto: Me and my amazing wife just had our first child this past February. Around the holidays I always made fresh very alcoholic eggnog but I’m really excited to make some new traditions with my daughter Madelyn! She loves to watch me cook now I hope she grows to love it so I can train her to be on kids baking shows when she’s old enough!

Matthew Marotto is owner of Cryo Cream located in New Jersey.

Holiday Wars Season 2 airs on Food Network, Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET.

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