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Brioche Gustavo Sáez so good #19

Brioche pudding with sugared nuts and chocolate crémeux by Gustavo Sáez

Brioche pudding with sugared nuts and chocolate crémeux by Gustavo Sáez

We went to Santiago de Chile to get to know the sweetest side of 99 Restaurante, one of Latin America’s modern establishments. Opened in 2014, this restaurant has a pastry station led by the young Gustavo Sáez, who in 2016 was even selected as the best restaurant pastry chef by the ranking of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for this continent.

gustavo sáezSáez, República del Cacao ambassador and also a member of the Chilean team for the World Pastry Cup 2018, is facing the great challenge of drawing new sweet horizons in a country that, until very recently, has lived with its back to its ingredients and its ancient gastronomic tradition. A challenge that he faces without losing sight of the fact that in 99 Restaurante there are two types of cuisine: one that is served at night, which is more complex and gastronomic, and another that is offered at midday, with a more set menu. This duality is evidenced in the desserts that Gustavo shares with us.

As the pastry chef himself explains at so good #19, ‘the proposals at night are a bit more daring, and that’s where we put more technique and we use products which are not so typical every day.’ In this case, the ingredient which is used is avocado, although mushrooms and eggplant have also come into play in other desserts. They are all products that reinforce the temporality of the menu and allow us to discover previously unexplored territories for the country. ‘In these dishes is where we can play around more,’ he acknowledges.

That does not mean that the midday menu desserts are less elaborate. Quite simply, they do not stray far from tradition and play more with elements of pastry aesthetics. Gustavo seeks to create recognizable and sweet dishes, with subtle modern touches. ‘We always try to make it as neat as possible, and we change this menu every day, with the idea that you can come for a year and not repeat a dish. We have a matrix of about 120 desserts that we adapt according to the season, so that in winter you would find a chocolate coulant with citrus, while in summer you would eat it with berries.’

Photos: Pablo Baracat