by Ian Froeb
Visit the RFT restaurant page late tomorrow afternoon or check back here Wednesday morning to see what I think. Also, check out Robin Wheeler's profile of BitterSweet owner Leanna Russo.In baking there's no margin for error. Even the most perfectionist of restaurant chefs -- say, the red-faced blowhard ranting and raving for the reality-TV cameras at some poor line cook who confused the balsamic vinegar for the olive oil -- knows that, at the last minute, a dash of salt or a squeeze of lemon can save or even elevate a dish. In the pastry kitchen, the chef works with dread certainty that if the soufflé falls, the game is over.
OK. Maybe I overstate slightly. (I can't bake Jiffy-brand corn muffins without burning a couple.) All cooking is science, of course, precise chemical reactions that anyone from a superstar chef like Grant Achatz to yours truly can understand and at least try to replicate. But within this community of scientists, bakers still stand apart, like theoretical physicists, working with equations that leave the rest of us boggled, chasing after the perfectly moist buttermilk cake that, like the Higgs-Boson particle, must exist, even if no one has actually found the damn thing.