Hedy Goldsmith has developed a groupie base for the magical desserts she creates as executive pasty chef at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami. Her drool-inducing confections include Popcorn and Peanuts (a milk chocolate candy bar with buttered popcorn ice cream), Banana Toffee Panini and house-made Pop-Tarts. Her peers are her biggest fans: The Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate spotlighted three of Goldsmith’s desserts on one episode. We recently peeked into the kitchen at the Miami home she shares with her partner, Heidi Ladell, and their two shih tzus.
Your desserts often incorporate spirits, and I spy a lot of bottles here. Coincidence?
Bourbon is a personal interest. I have 12 to 15 high-end single-barrel bourbons here.
You seem remarkably fit for someone who’s around sugar all the time. What’s your secret?
I work out a lot. I really love spinning.
Does working with pastry so much kill one’s sweet tooth, or is that a myth?
I work all day with sweets, so I don’t crave them as much. For junk food, I’ll choose potato chips. And I just spent time in Philadelphia, so I had to bring back some soft pretzels. But I limit that kind of thing. The older I get, the more difficult it is to work it off at the gym.
What kind of schedule does a pastry chef keep? I imagine lots of very early mornings.
Up until last summer I was baking from 6:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening. That has changed since our company has expanded.
I start at one of the properties, Michael’s Genuine, at around 7:30-8. I check in with the pastry chef and her assistants, check on the specials, then head over to the Raleigh Hotel, where I’m working with the pastry chef to create a new menu. Then I do some paperwork, hopefully bake a little, then visit Harry’s Pizzeria in the Design District, where we also have some pastries on the menu, then back to Michael’s Genuine, and I deal with the nighttime crew there.
We are a subcontractor for Royal Caribbean, and I just got back from a week on the Oasis of the Sea. Whenever the menu changes Michael Schwartz and I go on board and teach the crew how to finesse a six-course tasting menu.
And I’m about to leave for Michael’s Genuine on Grand Cayman Island. Every year the restaurants on the island do a collaborative dinner, and we’re hosting (The Spotted Pig’s) April Bloomfield.
Many people no doubt envy you for Unique Sweets, your occasional gig with the Cooking Channel.
Yeah, I travel to different cities and spend a couple of days binging on sugar. Someone has to do it.
When you’re not jetting off to some far-flung destination, how do you kick back?
I like to read, and I love to cook. I think I’m a better cook than a pastry chef. And the dogs occupy a tremendous amount of our time.
Because I work a little later, by the time I get home there’s not always a lot of time to cook. I try to eat very light. I also love frequenting restaurants in Miami. I’ve established a great rapport with some of the chefs in town, since I’ve been here so long. I am one of the lucky chefs who gets to do what I love and still have an actual life.