Beth Iwata

Jo McGarry
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Friday - October 12, 2011 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Jo McGarry photo

Occupation: Pastry Chef, Brasserie Du Vin

What started your interest in baking? I always enjoyed baking with my mom when I was a little girl making Christmas cookies and cakes. I was living in Japan when I decided I wanted to study more, so I went to Le Cordon Bleu there. We came back to Hawaii to be with family and start our own family.

Did you keep on cooking? I did, but when I took time off to take care of my daughter, that’s when I started baking again. When I went back to work, it was at Neiman Marcus as a pastry chef there.

At Du Vin you are able to branch out beyond pastries. There’s your wonderful quiche, for example, and you now have this great little takeout café that’s open daily. Yeah, I have the training and background to do both, and I’m working with Bamboo Two on their menus, too, so it’s fun to do a little of both.

Is baking science or art? Well, it’s kind of a combination for me. I’m not playing with chemicals and turning sweet potatoes into some alchemist powder, but it is about getting comfortable, knowing recipes and ingredients really well, and then playing with flavors.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not working? Right now I’m loving town, and I really want to try SALT, and PRIMA in Kailua, which I heard just opened. And I like 12th Avenue Grill, and BLT it had an awesome pastry chef for a while.

Do you always order dessert? It depends on how much tasting I’ve done during the day! It used to always have to be Napoleons if I saw them on a menu, but a good brownie sundae is where I am right now!

With whom would you most like to have dinner and dessert? Probably Julia Child. I know people choose her all the time, but it would be wonderful to talk with her. And I’d love the chance to dine with my grandparents just once; I couldn’t communicate with them growing up because I couldn’t speak Japanese, but I can now and that would be a conversation I’d love to have.

Do you watch any of those addictive cooking/baking shows? I find Top Chef really fascinating because of how people need to think on their feet. The Top Chef dessert edition was really over the top. Completely obsessive, really crazy people, and I just could not believe some of the desserts they made.

What’s always in your fridge? Milk, yogurt, butter ...

Do you bake at home? (laughs) Not much. I always wake up and want to bake something and find out I don’t have eggs.

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