A Q&A with ZukkuSan Dessert Chef Alex
We're excited to introduce the latest addition to our culinary team, Alex, a dessert chef whose innovative creations are about to tantalize your taste buds at ZukkuSan. With a flair for the (not too) sweet and sensational, Alex brings a fresh twist to our dessert menu, infusing it with the same artistry and precision you've come to love in our sushi.
In this exclusive Q&A, we'll dive into Alex's journey through the culinary world, uncovering the inspirations behind his delectable masterpieces and the future flavors he's eager to explore. Get ready to embark on a gastronomic adventure as we get up close and personal with the visionary behind your next dessert obsession.
Join us as we discover what makes Alex a true artisan in the realm of refined indulgence.
1. Background & Training
Zukku: Alex, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the world of desserts?
Alex: I graduated from the art institute of Tampa, and worked at various different restaurants
in Tampa (Yacht Club, Roux, Jacksons) for about 6 years. Then I started working as a sushi chef in training in Vegas at Sekushi, and eventually ended up at Zukku. Throughout that time since I was always cooking for work, I never wanted to cook at home so I instead made desserts.
2. Inspiration & Passion
Z: What inspired you to become a dessert chef, and what do you love most about creating desserts?
A: Having worked in so many restaurants and watching various pastry chefs work made me envious of the creative freedom they had to make desserts. So when the opportunity came to switch to making desserts I jumped on it. My Favorite thing about creating Desserts is thinking about the science behind everything you do.
3. Signature Dessert
Z: Do you have a signature dessert or a creation that you're particularly proud of?
A: Having not created too many desserts so far, I was particularly proud of the kaffir lime semifreddo. Taking a traditionally savory ingredient and making it the star of a dessert is
something I hope to strive for in my desserts.
4. Sushi & Dessert Fusion
Z: Our restaurant is known for sushi. How do you envision integrating the flavors and aesthetics of sushi into your desserts?
A: I wanted to create a dessert that looks similar to a sushi roll. I've toyed with the idea of making fish ingredients into a dessert but nothing has tasted too appealing.
5. Trends & Innovations
Z: What dessert trends are you currently excited about, and how do you plan to incorporate them into our menu?
A: I’ve seen a lot of tea-based desserts which I've always been a fan of. I hope to collaborate with some of the tea shops in the area and feature some of their teas in desserts.
6. Favorite Ingredients
Z: Are there any specific ingredients you especially love working with?
A: Of course asian-inspired ingredients are my favorite to work with. And to go a step further ones that are mainly used for savory purposes ie. Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass, miso for example.
7. Cultural Influence
Z: How do different cultures influence your dessert creations?
A: My wife being Chinese has exposed me to a lot of Chinese culture and desserts which are in nature not as sweet as other culture's desserts. So I try my best to make
desserts that are just the right amount of sweetness.
8. Challenges & Triumphs
Z: Can you share a challenging experience you've had in the kitchen and how you overcame it?
A: My First Job I worked at Jackson's Bistro and worked a station from 2-5 during the dead hours that served a very basic menu. Being close to the convention center an event ended which prompted a sudden influx of people to walk in and before I knew it I had 20+ tickets in 10 mins. Being my first job I panicked immediately but eventually I realized I just needed to relax and do the best I could and eventually the tickets would sell. Since then I never panicked in kitchens.
9. Personal Favorites
Z: When you're not in the kitchen, what's your go-to dessert to indulge in?
A: Anything that’s BOGO at Publix.
10. Client Experience
Z: How do you hope our clientele will feel after tasting one of your desserts?
A: I hope they would say “not too sweet.” And hopefully enjoy a new ingredient they’ve never had before.
11. Collaboration with the Team
Z: How do you plan to collaborate with our sushi chefs to create a harmonious dining experience?
A: Every time I talk to them I ask if they have an idea on the desserts or an idea of their own and try to apply it to.
12. Personal Touch
Z: Lastly, what's a fun fact or hobby outside of the kitchen that our clientele might be surprised to learn about you?
A: I enjoy rock climbing despite living in Florida, where I can only really climb artificial rocks.