Vendor Profile: GateauOChocolat

Chocolate Heaven, Here on Earth The idea of specializing in flourless chocolate cakes came to Emmanuel Roux in a Parisian restaurant. When he complimented the owner on her admirable cake, she shared a technique or two and, after returning to St. Petersburg, Roux began to play with the recipe. “I’ve always been interested in organic foods and knew that gluten free was catching on,” he says. “Eventually a plan emerged to make an all-organic chocolate cake that is entirely gluten free—and, of course, tastes really good.” Last fall Roux established a commercial kitchen on Central Avenue and began making his flourless cakes to sell, along with a selection of patés, at the Saturday Market. Everyone who stops by the booth is invited to sample the cake, airy in texture but intensely chocolate-y. “People always enjoy the cake but some don’t understand why it costs more than an ordinary supermarket cake,” says Roux. The answer resides in the meticulously selected ingredients: exquisite chocolate from Ecuador, organic eggs and sugar, and butter produced on small family farms. And, because the cake is rich, even a modest portion is satisfying. To illustrate, Roux offers an elegant cocktail party idea: Place a bite-sized portion of chocolate cake in a Chinese soup spoon, topping it with a strawberry sliver and drizzle of port wine. For more information and direct orders, visit www.gateauochocolat.com. His passion for cooking dates back to a childhood spent partly in France and partly in Tunisia, where his parents owned a wheat farm and entertained frequently, always cooking with the best ingredients. Roux’s food career has included being the co-proprietor of The Garden restaurant – a long time favorite on Central Avenue in downtown St Pete. It featured a variety of Mediterranean cuisine, and a unique outdoor garden seating area. He also ran a business that was among the first to introduce Americans to flavored pastas. These days, a community garden operated with neighbors in the Old Southeast neighborhood of St Pete provides just about all the vegetables consumed in his household. There you might find lacinato kale, collards, rainbow chard, arugula—and that’s only the greens. Together with Creative Clay, Roux has developed a gardening therapy program for mentally challenged adults. “We decided to concentrate on having them plant seedings. It’s a simple task to master, and they see the miracle of a seed growing in a small pot,” he says. Emmanuel has also had a long standing interest in sustainable farming practices. He’s been a key supporter of the Tampa Bay chapters of Slow Food and the Permaculture Guild As a French chef, Roux is a master at whisking up a vinaigrette for the lovely greens grown in his garden. Here’s how he makes a salad for himself and his wife Jennifer Hardin, chief curator of the Museum of Fine Arts, at the end of a busy day. —————————————————————————————————- Garden Greens with Homemade Vinaigrette Makes 2 servings 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar Sea salt or kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 small garlic clove, pressed (optional) Up to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil about 3 cups mixed salad greens 1. In the bottom of the salad bowl, whisk the vinegar with ¼ teaspoon salt and a few grindings of pepper. 2. Blend in the mustard, olive oil and (if using) garlic until smooth. 3. Add the greens and toss well. Taste and add more of the vinaigrette ingredients as needed.

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Toni Lydecker is a food journalist whose most recent cookbook is Piatto Unico: When One Course Makes a Real Italian Meal (fall 2011). She writes an Italian food blog called Tavola Talk (www.tavolatalk.com).

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