Meet Our Pastry Chef (and Bread Baker!): Delfina Perez

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We pride ourselves on our rooftop garden, our scratch-made cuisine and our inventive, award-winning chef. But we’re also busting with pride over our pastry chef, Delfina Perez, the powerhouse behind our freshly made desserts and breads.

gables-baker-1Our desserts are a collaboration between Delfina and our co-owner Ann Kolenick (and sometimes even executive chef Dave Wenerd). Delfina is part self-taught, part a product of working with great mentors. She’s been with The Gables at Chadds Ford for four years following stints at The Greenhouse and The Farmhouse restaurants at Loch Nairn Golf Club.

“People expect the freshest ingredients in our cuisine,” Delfina explained. “We bake with the same philosophy because fresh ingredients make the best desserts, too.”

Delfina’s favorite dessert to make is our Ann’s Chocolate Espresso Cake. This dreamy combination of dark chocolate cake, espresso-infused caramel sauce, chocolate espresso mousse, bittersweet chocolate ganache and whipped cream took first place at the 2015 Kennett Chocolate Lovers Festival and is a customer favorite.

gables-baker-2Her day in our kitchen is somewhat routine, but never the same, thanks to our special events and specialty desserts. She could be whipping up a custom dessert for a party; making sure there are ample portions of sweets for our lunch, brunch and dinner guests; or crafting breads to fill bread baskets and cradle sandwich specials. Most days: all of the above.

“Desserts can take some time, depending on how many different components there are to complete,” Delfina added. “For example, our Bourbon Pecan Pie is a multi-day process because I make the crust one day and let it rest in the refrigerator, and then the filling is made the next day and baked in the crust. Our Creme Brulee, on the other hand, can be made start to finish in approximately 2 hours.”

gables-baker-3How about those hot-from-the-oven breads? Delfina spends roughly two hours perfecting our dinner rolls, ciabatta and rustic white loaves. Sandwiches that sit upon the latter—like our panini—benefit from the slightly crunchy crust, the tender interior and the taste you can only get from just-made bread. We know our dinner rolls are a hit because our guests are always clamoring for more.

What’s the secret behind Delfina’s prowess? It’s rather simple.

“Baking isn’t as hard as people think—you just need to be prepared and stick to the recipe,” Delfina added. “My top tip—always use a timer! While there may be some leeway with other types of recipes, there’s generally not room to experiment when it comes to baking times.”

Drooling yet? Our best advice, then, is to save plenty of room for bread and dessert on your next visit to The Gables at Chadds Ford.

The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone

Photo credits: top two photos, Gables at Chadds Ford; third photo, Allison Barto; fourth photo, Betsy Barron