Pasty chef Taylor Siok helps craft delectable desserts and bread at Luna, the beloved restaurant on Spokane’s South Hill. He decided to become a pastry chef during a visit to Germany and worked out his technique on his family, to varying degrees of success.
What’s your favorite dish to cook at home? For home cooking, nothing is better than a good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie
Where do you eat when you eat out? Vien Dong. I eat at lots of places and try to be diverse in where I go, but I seem to find myself looping back to Vien Dong on a regular basis for their pho.
Who or what inspired you to become a chef, and how? A trip to Germany when I was 15 solidified my decision to become a pastry chef. I stayed with a former German exchange student and, each morning, the family would walk to a local bakery to pick up fresh bread and pastries for breakfast. It is one of my fondest memories, and I knew then I wanted to provide that kind of joy for others.
What are your go-to ingredients? I can’t say I have “go-to” ingredients, as I do my best to work with the seasons. However, I love exotic citrus fruits – bergamot being my favorite. It’s followed closely by Buddha’s hand and kumquat. I also recently had my first ever mandarinquat, a cross between mandarin and kumquat; it was outstanding. It carries the flavor of a kumquat but comes in the more convenient size of a mandarin.
What was the first dish a customer ever sent back to you, and how did you handle it? The first dish I ever had sent back to me was a chocolate chip muffin. When I was about 10 I used to make muffins for friends and family, but one day I decided I wanted to make up my own recipe. Whatever it was that I actually baked was completely inedible. Even my parents couldn’t stomach it.
What’s a dish you’ve never made but would like to, and why? I have always wanted to make sfogliatella, a shell-shaped filled Italian pastry that’s sometimes called a lobster tail. I have always been intrigued by this technique and was once shown how to do it. But I have never actually done it myself.
What dish or ingredient best represents you? I think macarons best represents me. I am particularly proud of them, as achieving the proper foot, texture, size and filling took me a long time to perfect. I owe a great deal of thanks to a previous mentor for sharing his technique with me.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Taylor Siok of Luna
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour and baking soda together and set aside.
Cream butter, sugars and honey with the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes on medium high. Scrape the bowl and mix on medium high for 1 more minute. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium, scrape bowl and continue mixing until smooth.
Add flour, salt and baking soda at once and mix on low until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl and add the chocolate chips and mix on low until they are evenly distributed. Portion into 1/4 cup-size balls. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper and press down slightly to form a hockey puck shape. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
Yield: about 16 large cookies