If there's a chef in New York right now who can challenge the old adage "timing is everything," it's Thiago Silva.
In December, he left his position as the executive pastry chef of EMM Group, where he oversaw dessert creation and implementation at NYC's The General, La Cenita and Catch for the past six years. His time is now filled with awaiting the birth of his second child and fixing up his house in Queens—not building elaborate celebration cakes or cookie buckets. So the timing couldn't be weirder for one of his former fantastical creations to go viral.
The dessert is his cinnamon roll doughnut (see the recipe).
Over the course of one week, the doughnut—which you can still get on Catch's dessert menu served with pumpkin ice cream, spiced rum sabayon and cranberry pomegranate sauce—was featured on The Huffington Post, Thrillist, Delish, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed and countless other sites. After an enthusiastic tasting on morning food show The Chew, even more coverage followed.
"It's kind of crazy," Silva says. "I'm home not doing anything, and this came outta nowhere. I didn't push this dessert out, so the media attention happened organically."
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This isn't the first time Silva's taken nostalgic childhood favorites to professional heights. He's made Apple Jax Pop Tarts, S'Mores Pizza and "The Anytime Waffle Tower," which layers gluten-free waffles with maple, milk chocolate and raspberry ice creams, smothered in chocolate ganache, raspberry jam and toasted almonds in a presentation more sundae-like than brunch worthy.
And then there's the doughnut. "If you can take two classic American pastries that everyone knows and loves, and come up with a way to combine them at a professional level, it's fun," he says. Rather than wrap an already-baked cinnamon roll inside raw doughnut dough, Silva mastered both pastry recipes and his frying technique so that the raw cinnamon roll bakes on the inside while the doughnut fries on the outside. Cut into it horizontally, and the bun oozes now-warm cream cheese icing.
While he soaks in time with his family and gets ready for his next professional step, Silva's having fun with the attention his creation is getting right now, with more videos, interviews and articles already on their way. "This is our generation's way of rewarding someone for their new idea or concept," he says. "But on my end, I just love creating cool new products and sweet memories for people."
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