One of the hardest questions to answer when you go out for a meal is, “Would you like dessert?” For some, that’s actually a silly question because the answer is always yes. Others may feel full or don’t want the extra indulgence. But, whether we get dessert, we always look at the menu to see what tasty delights the pastry chef has come up with. Whether you’re a chocolate fan, prefer a fruit-driven dessert or love a cleansing sorbet, have you ever really thought about who is behind those desserts?
Great pastry chefs toil away in some of our favorite kitchens and often don’t get the credit or spotlight the deserve — outside of watching people’s eyes roll back into their heads as they bite into a rich pot de creme or of-the-season fruit tart. We felt that wasn’t right so it’s time to give Jove Hubbard, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel’s executive pastry chef, the spotlight and attention he deserves. This graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco went on to help open the Peabody Little Rock Hotel in Arkansas before furthering his pastry education at the famed French Pastry School in Chicago. From there he worked first at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans before returning to Chicago to oversee all pastry operations at the James Hotel. We were lucky to get this talent, where he has been since we opened the property two years ago. We wanted to know more about Hubbard beyond his stellar C.V. so we asked him a variety of questions.
Q: What sparked your interest in becoming a pastry chef?
A: A stint in the Pastry Shop at the Peabody Memphis during my culinary apprenticeship.
Q: We heard you had to work pastry as a punishment back in the day before you decided to make it your career focus — what did you do to merit that “sentence”?
A: My chef thought I seemed “bored” after taking me out to see KISS and not making it to work the following day.
Q: What’s your favorite dessert to make and why?
A: Anything with blueberries, they are my favorite.
Q: What’s your favorite dessert to eat and why?
A: Chocolate cream pie — it’s the best!
Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures —something that reminds you of childhood or maybe a favorite over the counter candy bar?
A: Reese’s Pieces
Q: Where you do love going for ice cream in Chicago?
A: Black Dog Gelato
Q: And what’s your go-to ice cream flavor?
A: Mint chocolate chip
Q: What pastry kitchen tool can you not live without?
A: Immersion Blender
Q: Do you have a pastry hero? If so, who and why?
A: Yes, Jean Pierre Wybauw. He is a living legend.
Q: In your opinion, what’s the most annoying pastry trend over the last few years?
Q: If you were to pair your favorite dessert with an alcoholic drink, what would both be?
A: Pecan pie and Irish coffee