Sherry Yard celebrates the seasonal ingredients in her recipes, interview

Sherry Yard, photo provided by Kohler Food and Wine
Sherry Yard, photo provided by Kohler Food and Wine /

During the recent Kohler Food and Wine Festival, celebrated Chef Sherry Yard took to the stage. While many people were delighted with her take on a traditional Apple Apfelstrudel, her appearance is more than just another demo from the iconic chef. It is an extension her philosophy in the kitchen.

While there are many food and wine festivals across the globe, Chef Yard chose to join the Kohler celebration because of the company’s willingness to give back. That philanthropic arm was just as important to her as the celebrating the bounty of the fall harvest.

In addition, the hospitality offered by the organization is just as vital. As chef appreciates, hospitality is an integral part of the restaurant industry and is a sentiment shared by many chefs.

Since Chef Yard is one of the best-known pastry chefs, it was evident that her demo would feature a seasonal recipe that highlights some of the local produce. As seen over her culinary career, seasonality is paramount in her cooking. Whether it was her time with Chef Wolfgang Puck or her iconic cookbook, the reality that she allows the ingredients to guide what she makes.

Recently, FoodSided spoke with Sherry Yard. As many people know from Chef Yard’s cooking, the farmer’s market and supporting farmers is woven into all her recipes. While she might have many options in California, the Wisconsin area is full of apples in the fall. Choosing this recipe was just as much about the ingredients as it is about the tradition.

With this recipe, it was important for Chef Yard to bring a taste of Austrian tradition. She specifically said, “I believe in keeping recipes alive.” Although some families might pass on certain dishes that grandma made, it is more than just that simple recipe. It is just as much an archive of family as it is a celebration of technique.

Looking at her Apple Apfelstrudel recipe, learning that pastry technique extends beyond just one dessert. From sweet to savory, the applications are many. Still, stepping into the kitchen to try is the first step and hopefully, it brings people back for more.

As Chef Yard explained, this recipe demo is a way to give people the tools to start learning more about techniques and why they are important. While she might not have had the means to stock her bookshelf with technique driven books, today is different. Now all types of information are readily available.

Most importantly, Chef Yard encourages everyone to start with the basics. Whether it is her classic cookbook or something else, building the foundation is essential to becoming a better cook.

With this Apple Apfelstrudel, Chef Yard recommends being thoughtful about picking the apples. From tart to crisp to sweet, it is about making an apple shine.

What simple tip does Chef Sherry Yard have for baking with apples?

As the holiday season quickly approaches, Chef Yard shared some simple ideas for working with apples. Specifically, she said never to put apples in water because the apples are like a sponge. Although she can add a little lemon to the apples to keep them from browning, it is important to use care during the prep.

For example, Chef Yard using both white and brown sugar in some of her recipes. It is not about making the sweetness pronounced but finding that flavor balance.

Most importantly, picking the right apples for the recipe is crucial. Whether it is the acid from a Fuji or the traditional flavors from a Granny Smith, it is more than just grabbing an apple from the pile. In addition, Chef Yard will combine apples in a recipe. Just like a savory recipe builds flavor through layers, the same principle applies.

In the end, getting into the kitchen is key to appreciating the nuances of cooking. A little experimentation can be tasty. Even if there can be a few imperfections along the way, the lessons learned will make the next round more enjoyable.

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